I’m going to say something that flies in the face of everything our culture stands for:
The world does not revolve around your children. Or mine. Or you or me, for that matter.
There, I said it.
I read an article on Friday that really made me think. This article claimed that modern American children are, as a whole, the most indulged, spoiled children in all of history. Prince Charming and I were talking about this and we both tended to agree with this statement, but we also recognized that we (the adults) are indulged and spoiled as well. It’s no wonder that our children are when that is the standard that we have set. And it certainly is hard not to be self-consumed and over-indugled when everything around us screams “IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU. GO ON, PLEASE YOURSELF THIS VERY MINUTE. YOU DESERVE IT”.
(One of my biggest struggles is selfishness and self-consumption, so this post is really just me processing through all of these thoughts swirling in my head. After all, I need this lesson more than ANYONE!)
The trends in parenting are so interesting to me. Less than 100 years ago the parenting pendulum was more on the “children should be seen and not heard” and border-line neglectful side of the pendulum. One-hundred years ago, children were expected to work on the family farm or at the family business. Life didn’t revolve around them, in fact young children were probably sometimes seen as a hindrance to the work that needed to be done.
Fast-forward to 2012, where our society tells us that we aren’t “good parents” if our entire lives don’t revolve around our children. After all, it is our responsibility for ensuring they are happy, smart, and well-adjusted with a room full of toys at 2, a car at age 16, and fully-paid college tuition at 18.
As with everything, there needs to be a balance. We need to recognize that our children are gifts from God, priceless treasures that should be loved and nurtured, molded with loving discipline and guidance, and showered with our love (not things).
But that doesn’t mean that we need to entertain them for 8 hours of everyday and base everything in our lives around their needs, wants, and desires. We most certainly need to spend time playing, teaching, and reading to our children but we also need to teach them to be thoughtful of others and outwardly focused.
There’s a problem with this “theory”, however.
We can’t just go on, living life normally in the way society tells us to. You see, our children get their cues from us. They model what they see us do.
If we are constantly feeding our own desires, that’s what our kids are going to think is “normal” and “right” to do as adults. So we need a reality check on our own hearts before we start making any progress towards raising thoughtful children.
The truth of the matter is, the world doesn’t really revolve around us or our children. It revolves around the
sun Son, just as it was created to.
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” -Psalm 150:6
God’s mission needs to be our mission and the mission of our families. Rather than spending all of our time trying to entertain our kids and think of what other ways we can indulge them (and ourselves), we need to be thinking of how we can show our kids what it means to “Love the Lord our God with all our heart and love our neighbors” as Matthew 22 tells us is the greatest command.
What are some tangible ways that we can help our children be thoughtful of others, even while living in an indulgent society???
Photo credit (prior to the text)