Thursday, August 20, 2009

Raise up a child

It’s been awhile since I posted anything to the Blog. Summer was hectic (as usual) and now school is starting again. I am preparing for another opportunity to influence young (and not-so-young) minds. My objective is to equip this generation to be more productive, more wise, and more “significant” than it would otherwise be without the benefit of my age, experience, and insight. Does that sound egotistical? Perhaps, but I think it sounds “self-confident.”

One of the attributes that seems to follow a pattern of successes is that one grows into a state of heightened self-confidence. I submit that one of the chief duties of a parent is to create for their children, opportunities for success. Please note that I did NOT say, “give them success” but rather, “create opportunities” for the child to succeed. Even children realize the insincerity and shallowness of an award that is not earned.

Have you noticed that the more we “reward” children for just showing up and participating (sports, school, etc.) that the more children suffer from lack of “self-esteem” and “self-confidence”? Have you observed that the more children are given, the more unhappy and demanding they become? Perhaps you have seen the correlation between more “stuff” and more leisure time, and higher drug use, increased suicide rates among teens, and generally more destructive behavior? Do you think that it might be reasonable to examine whether this is mere correlation, or is it actually a “cause and effect”?

It’s not just me…the generation before me, and the generation before them, and, indeed, every generation that has believed and followed Biblical principles of child-rearing and social interactions has discovered that we (people) NEED discipline in life. Our children must be exposed to adversity and guided through the process of overcoming adversity, in order to live well-adjusted lives.

The chief responsibility of parents is the teaching and training of their children. Deut. 6:6,7; Prov. 22:6; 2 Cor. 12:14; Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21; 1 Tim. 3:4,12; Tit. 2:4; Deut. 4:9; 31:13

You want your child to be mentally stable and psychologically normal. A child can be fully adjusted to circumstances whether they are pleasant or adverse. This requires learning to have a relaxed mental attitude which results from claiming the promises of Scripture, executing the commands, and learning doctrine.
Another goal is that your child have respect for authority, of all kinds: parental, political, spiritual. As a child observes his mother's submission to his father, or his father's submission to legal authority, he will have a very positive object lesson in proper response to authority. Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18. These relationship principles are NOT hard-wired in us at birth, but must be learned and practiced. This is the parent’s PRIMARY responsibility to the child, after meeting basic physical needs.
Every semester, I meet a new crop of college freshmen who have NOT received proper training. This year, more than any other, I have witnessed parents (almost always mothers) who come WITH their college student, to help them through the registration process. Here is a NEWS FLASH…if your 18 year-old student needs his mother’s help to register for college, YOU HAVE FAILED as a parent! No excuses! Part of the problem of America’s downward spiral is YOUR FAULT!
The older I get, the more I receive affirmation that MY parents (and others from my generation) were ON TARGET by teaching us responsibility at an early age. My own children have followed a path of success because they also learned responsibility. External discipline became internalized as we (and they) grew older. Self-esteem naturally follows accomplishment. Self-confidence is a natural consequence of winning an honest-to goodness, hard-fought battle. Deprive your children of that opportunity and you doom them to a selfish, unfulfilled life, marked by one poor choice after another.
This will undoubtedly anger many readers. That’s OK. I have absolute confidence that I am telling the truth, and that any objective analysis of the problem will lead to the inevitable conclusion that I (and countless others) have learned. My goal is tell the truth, NOT to make people feel good. The truth will set you free.

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