Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Parents, Don't Miss The Big Picture

Parents today are focused.  The problem is that their focus is on the wrong thing.  For most parents it seems that their primary goal is to ensure that their children have a great childhood.  These parents want to make as much money as possible to be able to give their kids all the things that they didn't have as a child.  They were "poor" growing up, so they want to make sure that their kids "never go without."  They want to make sure their kids have the name-brand clothing; own every toy they could desire; experience everything from ballet lessons to karate; and go on the nicest vacations to Disney World.  They work hard to ensure that their child has every comfort and luxury imaginable -- their own room; their own TV, with all the best channels; the latest video game system; their own iPad; their own iPhone as soon as they turn thirteen (or whatever age they arbitrarily choose).  In short, the focus of today's parents is to ensure that their children have a great childhood -- to shelter them from the unpleasantness of hardship and unfulfilled desires.

Instead, I want to remind you of the big picture.  The goal of parenthood is not to ensure that your children have a great childhood, but to prepare them for a successful adulthood.  The bulk of one's life is spent as an adult.  And adulthood is hard.  You have to buy your own toys; you have to buy and prepare your own food; you have to do your own laundry; you have to put a roof over your own head.  When you're an adult, you have do things that are hard and unpleasant every day.  When you are an adult, the world isn't interested in your feelings or desires.  If you want it, you have to earn it.  You have to get along with people you don't like.  You have to submit to leaders who are incompetent.  You have to obey the law or go to jail.  Adulthood is tough.  And if your goal as a parent is to ensure that your kids have a great childhood, then you are setting your child up to be a horrible failure as an adult.

Your goal as a parent needs to be preparing your kids for a successful adulthood.  They need to be tough, so don't shelter them from hardship.  They need to be grateful, so don't give them everything they want.  They need to be responsible, so don't do for them what they can do for themselves.  They need to be frugal, so teach them to save, and make them use their own money to buy the things they want.  They need to be smart, so turn off the TV and the iPad and instill in them a love for reading and knowledge.  They need self-control and respect for authority, so don't use drugs to cover up their behavioral problems.  And most of all they need Christ, so stop allowing sports and other non-essential activities to keep them away from church.

Otherwise your kids will have a great childhood, but they will grow up to be wimps, and adulthood will smack them in the face.

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