There are a lot of different viewpoints out there on the best way to raise your children. All you have to do is bring up the question, “what do you think is best for your kids” amongst a room full of parents and you will soon have some very red faced angry parents as they duke it out for who is right. In reality, there isn’t some secret all in one formula for raising your kids. It’s just a matter of your viewpoint on what role kids have, and what your role as a parent is.
The bible talks about children being “arrows in one’s quiver”. Arrows were used to fight, they were also used to hunt, they were tools in a sense. Arrows when they are kept in a quiver aren’t of much use. Arrows are to be shot out.
While I still have a lot to learn in the world of parenting. Every day I am more and more convinced that the greatest gift I can impart to my daughter is teaching her the importance of life around her, and that there is a great big world that is hers for the taking.
I don’t think it’s any kind of coincidence that children pick up the quickest off watching their parents. They see what we do and they mimic it. This makes me all the more want to live a crazy adventurous, bold, courageous life. Because I want my daughter to live that way. I want her to know that the value of experiencing cultures outside her own to better understand other people far outweighs the value of a toy at a toy store.
I want her to know that she can do anything because she sees her mom and dad doing things that people call nuts, or over-board. I want her to see that anything is attainable regardless of what people say.
I want her to see her dad honoring her mother. I want her to understand that daddy takes mommy out on special trips sometimes alone to strengthen not only his marriage, but to strengthen his family.
Children are meant to come alongside and be a part of an adventure, be a part of their parents life until they are ready to make a way on their own.
But often kids are placed as the center of attention and as the center of life. Everything that one does is based around them. This I believe not only breaks down the family as a unit, but it places unhealthy expectations on the kids. They are looked to as a source of life, when they should be getting that from parents, (no wonder kids are growing up with no sense of direction or purpose), and further once the kids are grown and gone, the parents find themselves with no purpose.
In the last 25 years, couples who divorce after 50 has jumped from 8% to 25%. Surprising? Not really? Not when parents stop having a relationship and make their kids their life. They don’t have anything in common anymore once their kids are gone, because they’ve spent the last 20 years or so neglecting building a life and future, and strengthening their family unit, and their marriage.
My wife and I get asked all the time how or why we do so much when we have a child. It’s not because we love her any less. We do the things we are doing to make a better life for us and for our children, and for others.
As a father and husband, I want nothing more than to know that my family is cared for, safe, and has all the things they want and need. But I also have to remember, that I am responsible for not just the care of my family, but for the care of orphans, widows, and others who don’t have a father looking out for them. That’s the Biblical call, and that’s what I want my daughter to grow up knowing.
As long as I am on this earth I will care, worry, and provide for my daughter in anyway I can, but I cannot make her my one and only life, out of respect for her, and respect for my wife. I can bring her alongside of life, and show her a whole big world outside her own.