Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
But if anyone leads astray one of these little children who believe in me he would be better off thrown into the depths of the sea with a mill-stone hung round his neck!
– Matthew 18:6
There is something here I’m noticing that might not be the most obvious.
You might first notice the parenting advice here, or the warning to not harm a child or teach them wrong, but in the context of what I’m observing in, what I’ll very loosely call “American parenting” these days, all I can see is on thing:
Both of these scriptures imply that the PARENT or adult makes the decisions and LEADS the child.
I have recently had many conversations with moms about raising kids, particularly toddlers – and for the record, yes I have one – and there is a phrase I’m hearing a lot of, and it’s a little bothersome to me. It’s: “When (he/she) is ready.”
Or: “(He/she) isn’t ready.”
Or my favorite: “(He/She) will let me know when (he/she) is ready.”
This line has been dropped in a multitude of settings from potty training, to weaning from a pacifier, to starting pre-school. And while I agree that we shouldn’t expect so much from our children that we have unrealistic expectations of them, I have a really big issue with the number of households I’ve been in that are run by a 3 year-old.
Parents of young children… parents of older children… parents of pre-teens and teenagers: if there is one thing I have learned in the brief 4 years that I have been a mother; it is that I am not my daughter’s friend. I never should be, never want to be, and never will be. I am something far greater than that because I am her mother. You can be your child’s mother, not their friend, and they still like you; though sometimes they won’t – and that’s GOOD! Because your child is a CHILD. None of us were born innately wise and intelligent. We had to live some life, go to school, and learn some lessons in order to make educated and wise decisions for ourselves… and then make educated and wise decisions for our children. They do not and cannot possibly know what is good for them or right for them at the age of 3… at the age of 7… at the age of 15, even! ( I was 15 recently enough to know that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did).
Please don’t misunderstand – I’m not a Tiger Mother and I don’t idolize Hitler. I don’t think we should be MEAN to our kids or emotionally damage them (see the second scripture at the top, there are consequences for that), but we should be the LEADERS of our kids. We should be the PARENTS. If we don’t hold them to a standard of GROWTH and PROGRESS, what kind of adults are we raising?
Recently, in Texas, there was a group of parents that filed a bullying complaint against a coaching staff of a high school football team that beat their children’s team with a score of around 90-something to zero. They called the coaches bullies for not taking it easier on their kids’ team.
While I can see standing up for your kids, and defending them; please tell me what they are teaching their children about coping with loss and dealing with failure by placing the blame on the actions of another person? You’re not. You’re teaching them that if they’re not good at something, you can just make someone else’s fault and then it’s not so bad. A lot of people in the real world try to do that, but in general, that is not real life. I feel awful for these kids because they’re in High School. They’re about to head off to college maybe, and/or into the work force, and from experience, I can tell you that your boss would laugh you out of the office if you tried to tell them that your productivity was too low because someone else’s was too high.
I’m not trying to intentionally sound mean or judgmental, but please, PLEASE, for the sake of who your children will be when they are adults, start preparing them NOW for real life.
Jesus said, “in this world, you will have troubles.” (John 16:33). PREPARE THEM.
He promised persecution (bullying). (John 15:18). PREPARE THEM.
The world is not nice because it is not OF GOD, it is OF THE WORLD. And whether or not WE are of it, we are IN it, and so are our kids (Romans 12:2, John 15:19); and they NEED to be ready to be pushed, challenged, offended, and sometimes defeated and persecuted. And on that note, we have to teach them how to deal appropriately with success, praise, and joy. We, have a responsibility as the LEADERS AND TRAINERS of our children to do this. When you find a balance of both correction and praise, you’re doing it right.
Be happy with them when they’re happy. Be sad with them when they’re sad. (Romans 12:15). And preach them the gospel to arm them for the hard times, and to know who to thank in the great times. And in all things that you do, do it in love because you love them the way the Father loves you (1 John 4:19) and leads you.
because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.
– Proverbs 3:12
And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.
– Hebrews 12:5-6
And to my fellow mothers out there:
Read over Proverbs 31 and take it more to heart than a Hallmark card. Watch her example, and examine why she is praised by her children, and also her husband. Seek God for His wisdom and guidance as a parent. Parenting is scary, and I think mothering is scarier. It’s hard and there isn’t necessarily a “handbook,” and yes, some kids are way different, but God has wisdom and guidance in His book. Seek truth before seeking Super Nanny.
I really do pray that God blesses each and every one of you… every one of us, for the love that we have for our kids, and our desire to just DO THE RIGHT THING. Praying for you always!