The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why-Mark Twain
I know, I know, I’m horrible in this day and age to EXPECT certain behavior from my kids. Believe you me, I was there once, trying to raise very young children while reading the parenting books. You know the ones, “don’t quash their creativity,” “don’t fill their time with activities,” “don’t try to impose your own ideals,” “don’t try to impose gender roles,”…….etc. Oh, there’s more…”don’t demean them”, “don’t say no,” “don’t make them eat foods they don’t like”. Yeah, right! Look around. If you are following the news of the new “Snowflake Culture” of youth today, you know what all of this good advice from parenting experts has created. We have created a generation of delicate babies who can’t DO anything, they don’t know anything substantive and they can’t listen to opposing ideas or experience any kind of discomfort even down to complaining about their college’s cafeteria menus. Have you seen what large colleges are feeding student’s these days. I would LOVE to go back to college, just for the food! And the pools? and workout facilities? I could go on and on.
My husband and I benefited in some ways, from having to wait to have kids. We watched our cohort of friends and siblings raise their kids. We were able to see what experiments worked and what didn’t. After all, parenting for the last 25 or so years has been one big experiment. Truly, we watched little toddlers grow into adults. We watched spoiled and entitled children not grow up at all. We watched other children, whose parents would be chided as TOO demanding, grow into amazing adults that daily make this world a better place.
It’s a unique spot to be in, being a parent; not being a mother or a father, practically anyone can do that. It takes a special soul to be a parent and to take another human being that is dependent completely on you and commit most of your thoughts, worry and free time on the care and feeding of that little human. They may suck all the life out of you and then leave home one day with a ,”goodbye, Mom!” and never call you again. But, the desire to parent is a God given gift and a core goal in marriage. As hot as your husband is when you marry him, he is even hotter when he is showing your child how to fish or paint fingernails.
It is commanded of us to teach our children and to raise them to know the Lord, yes, but also so that they can work. “By the sweat of their brow.” Right? Man (and woman of course) find pleasure and satisfaction in work and a job well done, so to parent well means setting up your kids to be happy, fulfilled, adults. My husband and I luckily agreed on many parenting issues that we sort of made up as we went along and learned from observing other families who had the kinds of successes we wanted.
Goals: Happy, independent spiritual children who knew who they were, knew what was going on in the world, could one day have a solid valuable profession, be of service to others and leave this world a better place because they were in it.
Here is our gameplan:
- We don’t spank. (that’s a whole other post)
- Education: It is THE most important aspect of my kids lives outside of the spiritual side which they live 24/7. If you aren’t concerned about your kids education, consider this, manufacturing jobs are disappearing and almost gone. Practically everyone in the world builds everything cheaper than the US or other Westernized countries. IT computer jobs are being outsourced in huge numbers. Good paying mining jobs are gone, gone, gone. Even medical jobs are being sent overseas. And, in the next few years, once online teaching becomes big, our schools won’t need as many teachers. There will be a job crisis. What will your kids be able to do when there is nothing to do? Hopefully, they’ll have so many skills that they will be able to find some kind of good work that is fulfilling.
- Athletics: Competitive sports takes money and time and more work than most parents or kids are willing to put forth. But, Athletes know how to work and how to be uncomfortable and humbled. Time and work are part of being an athlete. I knew I wanted my kids to know how to work and how to be uncomfortable and be humbled. Therefore they do sports. They have to choose some sport.
- Grades: Yup, a B is a gateway grade for us. A “B” is just a stepping stone portal to the hellish “C” and if you want to see my head turn all the way around, show me a “D”. and my head spins every semester. Parents of our generation dislike standardized testing and benchmarks, but I use grades and standardized tests as a gauge to see how much our kids pay attention, stay engaged, and participate in and respect the gift of knowledge gaining. Having been made in the image of our creator with his attributes, we are put here on Earth to learn and build and create. If we sit passively by, then we are not living up to our potential and becoming our “Best” self, the self our Heavenly Father wants us to be, for our own sake. For the sake of our own happiness. Standardized tests absolutely do accurately reflect your student’s knowledge on a subject.
- Music: We have wavered on this because it takes more time and money than we have. But music is important. In our current era, the numbers of children who can play the piano or other instrument are very small. When they are adults, kids will understand why knowing how to play or sing is important.
- Language: My kids have to take at least two years of one language and it has to be Spanish. So far, though all of my kids have taken more than one language. Communication skills might be more important to develop than simply having an education. The more people you can communicate with effectively, the better off you are. If you can’t communicate effectively, even in day to day English, you will be ignored. I don’t want my kids, ignored, disenfranchised or relegated to victim status.
- Conversation: We have conversation about what is going on in the world. HONEST conversations about politics can start at age 8 or 9. It’s important to be honest. If you are talking about controversial subjects like climate change or the Gaza Strip, you best know both sides. This allows them to learn not to fall for misinformation. Do your research to find factual information.
- Scouts: Currently, there is no other program out there that gives boys the chance to GO BIG! Our scouts allow my boys (and girls) to do things that they would not normally do with our family such as mountain climbing, ice climbing, skiing, back country camping, canoeing, and extended hiking and biking. Plus, in Scouting, they will meet some of the most selfless and caring souls they will ever know.
I assume my kids will go to college, that is mostly because they don’t have a lot of other avenues. We don’t have land so being a farmer would be really difficult. They haven’t been given much hands on training in mechanics or construction so they don’t have the background that helps spurn their desire in that direction. If my kid wanted to be a welder or a mechanic then I would be just as thrilled as I would be if they said the wanted to be a doctor. I would help them learn how to be the best welder they could be. That’s one of the things we can do as a parent, help our kids realize their dreams…to a point. As parents should help our kids acquire the skills they need to realize their future on their own. Remember, someday we will be gone and our kids will be on their own. I don’t want my kids to be the ones seen on camera complaining about their college food and how the ideas and opinions of others hurt their feelings.