Sunday, April 21, 2013

Are We Doing TOO MUCH For Our Kids ?

As a parent of 7 children I feel somewhat qualified to speak on life as a father and leader of future adults.  I am very far from any sort of expert level, but I have experienced quite a few things raising these members of the next generation and I have great hope mixed with serious concerns.

There is not time now (nor do I have the energy) to go over all of these hopes and concerns in this single blog post, but today I feel impressed to write on one of these topics:  Responsibility.

I work with youth in a variety of situations (church, school, scouts, home, etc.) and one of my greatest hopes in this next generation is the strength I see in most youth to do more than we or they believe they are capable of.  I have seen many examples of a young man or woman being responsible for much more than I feel I was capable of at their tender age.  I'm not just speaking of teenagers, but even kids at 6-8 years old have impressed me with their ability to rise to the challenge laid before them.

This hope is tempered by an increasing concern over well-intentioned parents who willingly remove some (or all) responsibility from their children.  I see this in an even larger amount of scenarios and it is very alarming.  How can a child become a responsible and independent adult if you (as a parent) constantly remove challenges from their paths?!

The short answer is, they won't.

I know I am far from perfect, but I strive to either put my kids in challenging situations that they can learn and grow from, or at least allow them to find these situations themselves.  I try to offer support and encouragement, but I refuse to do it for them when I know there is a life lesson to be learned as they overcome their challenge.  This is often very difficult for me to do because:  it takes more time and it is painful (for me to watch and for my child to go through) ... but the alternative is that they will have to learn that lesson later in life under most likely much less desirable and supportive circumstances.  Better that they suffer a little embarrassment under my loving, watchful eye, than that they suffer as a social outcast or 'that guy' at work who no one wants to have on their team.

Time will tell whether or not my theory is the right one.  On the one hand, I hope these coddled and babied children from other homes turn out just fine in spite of their being overly protected from hard work and accountability.  But I doubt that will be the case.  All I know is that my children will continue to learn and grow by taking on hard things and reaching difficult goals they have set for themselves.  In this they will find joy and true satisfaction and success.  And if that happens, then my work has been true and good and well worth the effort.

Song Of The Day:
Sundays are always a great day for reflection and pondering life's mysteries.  I like to listen to instrumental music for that purpose and solo piano music is among my most favorite type.  I came across the song "Creation" by Craig Linder (I think on Spotify) and wanted to listen to the song over and over again.


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