Monday, August 10, 2009

Raising Children (Adults) with Character

Generation Cedar hit the nail square on the head.

I needed this.

I know a lot of other Mom's who need it, too.

I know a small handful who have gotten a good grasp on this concept.

We need a whole lot more families to get this concept. There are just way too many lazy parents producing whiney, bratty, want-what-they-want children these days.

I want this very thing for my children. I'm not raising 'children' -- I'm training the adults that will run this world one day. Think about it -- which would you rather have rocking your world tomorrow...a spoiled, bratty man-child who wants his own self-interests filled above serving others? Or a confident yet humble adult, compassionate and willing/eager to serve?

I'd like to offer their prospective spouses a mature, common-sense driven adult capable of both leading and following. A Father ready to guide his family in the ways of The Lord; a Godly man waiting for a Godly woman to be his helpmeet in all things.
A Mother, eager to walk into the future trusting her husband, raising her children and managing her home; confident that The Lord has given her the strength and abilities to reach the highest calling she can have in her life.

Not some wet-behind-the-ears whiner who thinks of themselves first and their own personal needs above all else; who believes they are deserving simply because they exist and who always expect someone else to lift them up.

Man, we need way more families training their children how to be adults and not perpetual children.

(:::from Generation Cedar:::)
Want to Change the World? Teach Your Children Self-Control by Word Warrior

Many parents operate from a motivation of comfort.  The behavior they seek to bring about in their children is mostly about making life easier rather than shaping the child's character to conform to the image of Christ  (giving him the candy he's screaming for is easier at the time than cultivating self-control). 

Such a philosophy will only produce temporary results, and often disastrous ones. Worse yet, those children will grow up and the same habits enforced by poor parenting will likely be magnified, negatively impacting their lives.  Multiply that across a culture, and we've got a whole generation of  "poorly habited" adults having serious implications on every aspect of societal life.

Boy that was a broad, sweeping connection, but one worth pondering.  We are affected deeply by the habits we learn (or aren't trained out of) as children that become a mode of operation for us as adults.  Think of all the grown-ups filing petty law suits because the principal of the school won't allow their child to chew gum in class…the man who jumps out of his car and kills another driver because he refused to let him merge…the men and women walking out on each other because they're too self-absorbed to live for another…
All largely because parents did a poor job instilling character into their children. 
Is that heavy or what, as we ponder our jobs?

I was thinking today of just one tiny example of this.  Every one of us deals with children who whine and complain.  We didn't have to teach them, they do it naturally.  What we have to do is equip them to handle disappointment and frustration in a proper way.  This one job alone is huge.  It takes consistent, patient effort on a parent's part.  It is tedious and challenging.

BUT…"a child left to himself brings his mother shame".

So, that's our choice.  Leave him to his natural inclinations, or train against them.

Here's the problem…lots of us give in to OUR natural inclinations and do what is most comfortable and convenient for us, failing to see beyond the moment, and as a result, enforcing the sinful natures of our children.

When a child whines for what he wants, or cries and complains about some small disappointment, we tend toward doing whatever is needful to make him stop.  That's the easy solution.  But it's not the right one.

We are really working hard in our house right now to shape the habit of self-control and gratefulness, which I believe is at the heart of a complaining, whining spirit.  I struggle with this as an adult, and so I want so much to catch it early on with my children.

As a practical example… This morning one of my children sat down to breakfast and her older sister poured her a bowl of cereal.  The younger one didn't think it was enough so she proceeded to fuss.  I asked her to stop and eat cheerfully.  She went from fussing to crying.  So I dismissed her from the table with a brief instruction about "coming back when you are grateful".  She did come back with a smile and I let her eat.  I told her the next time that she would have to miss breakfast. 
(Turned out she got half way through the bowl and said she was full ;-)  I made her finish the bowl.)

When a little one whines for what he wants, try to resist the urge to meet his need as quickly as possible to make peace.  Instead, remember the big picture–yes it is more trouble now, much less trouble later–explain that he can't have it until he asks cheerfully.  If he's really young, tell him "no" to his fussing, and then mimic the right response for him.

Let's be faithful to take the time to deal with the heart issues of our children and not respond with a temporary reaction.  The whole direction of their lives may depend on it!

1 comment:

ShilohMom said...

This is very good advice. I am praying for a godly young lady to marry my son. He is only 16 (almost), but wants to marry someday. My hope is that some God-fearing and God-honoring mother has taken the time to raise a young lady who not only will make a good help-meet for my son, but will be ready to handle the challenges of leaving home and cleaving to a husband.

I have done my best to raise my son to be a God-loving man. He loves the Lord, serves Him gladly, and is very disciplined and loyal. He has integrity, honor, and is very obedient to his parents. How did I do this? By the Grace of God, of course! That and a very good dose of common sense, common courtesy, and humility that says "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." My rules were simple: Love God, Love Others. Respect your parents. Treat others with respect. Use your quiet voice when indoors. Ask for something nicely. Always say thank you. Be cheerful and remember that you are fortunate to be alive, to have a Mom and Dad who love you, and a Father in Heaven who cares for you.

It is not difficult to raise Godly children. It takes patience, takes love, takes discipline, and a quiet spirit on the part of the Mother (she must not get angry). The Mother must remember that she is the "God-pinch hitter". She is filling in (here on earth) for God, teaching and training these children for His Glory. She must, therefore, raise her children the way God raises His. She disciplines as God would, doing what is best for the child, not always what the child wants. She teaches with an adult mind-set -- looking 10 or 20 years down the road and then making course corrections to ensure that her children will reach adulthood and be happy, be committed, and be whole individuals.

Faith, trust in God, and reliance upon Him are all that is necessary to raise up children who will be an honor to their parents and a blessing to future generations.

Jer.6:16

Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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