What has inspired this post series on Refusing to Raise Cookie Cutter Kids?
I have been thinking about the youth of today in general. You hear about how the average child watches between 3-5 hours of television a day and know from experience how busy a child’s life can be going from school to sports and from piano lessons to youth group. When you stop to think about a child’s life for a moment… how much of their time is spent focused on them, their wants, desires, dreams, and wishes? And how much time is spent thoughtfully and intentionally contributing to this world and seeking their calling in life?
When you think about the average child and hear all the complaints about the youth of today and their entitlement attitude… what has contributed to it? Why do they have this heart attitude?
Why don’t they have work ethic? Why don’t they want to work or contribute?
Why, when you go to a shopping center or a skating rink in the summer do you see and here all the same things from the youth… empty chatter, profanity, gossip, slander, and inappropriate thoughts and motives being actively practiced. You see “PLAY IS A CHILD’S PRACTICE FOR LIFE.” What kind of “play” does your child do?
So what can we do as parents, when we live in privileged America, to ensure our children won’t be “the norm”, the “statistic”, the “cookie cutter suburb kid”?
Honestly, I am just figuring this out myself as I do it, but I know one thing…
1) First we have to recognize we are in a battle. Our culture sucks us in, it is so easy to forget, and ignore the real needs out there in the world today. In order to keep our hearts soft and not desensitized to the needs of others; in order to truly have a heart of compassion it takes an intentional effort. If we are to teach our children, to help them see that this world is not all about us or them, we need to serve others.
Part of the battle we are in is realizing how much the culture has influenced our thinking about what we can expect from our children. We need to examine our thinking and beliefs up against the Word of God and surrender our opinions under the headship of Christ and His authority when it comes to raising children. I have personally taken a stand against receiving parenting advice from the culture (which means protecting myself from certain influences like in movies); and chosen to seek “advice” first from scripture and then from other older Titus 2 women and men who have raised their families to love the Lord and serve Him.
2) We need to make choices as we parent… choices like… are we going to put our child in sports or are we going to serve at the soup kitchen and teach at the local community center? I am not saying it is one or the other either… I am simply making a point… why do we do what we do, as parents? Do we just put our kids in sports because that is what our parents did? Do we do it because that is what all the other parents are doing? Or is our family, our child called to do sports for this season in life? And if so, how can you minister? How can we engage in learning deep life lessons throughout the experience with our children? Intentionality….
3) We need to consciously decide as parent teams what our family mission is. We need to pray about it. Not choose what we want it to be, but pray about where God would have each of our families ministering. Then we need to pursue those, take action. Our children will learn from our example; if we talk the talk of serving but don’t walk the walk… it is empty… there is no power in our words. Engage them, do this together, as a team!
4) Choose which character traits are most critical, from a biblical perspective, for your child to attribute/learn by the time they leave your protection and guidance. If we are going to call it being intentional as parents, then we need to truly intend to leave a legacy within them, other than the obvious generational sins and bad habits. Which character traits do each of our children already possess? Which are natural to them? And which do they need encouragement in or training in? (More on this tomorrow)
God Bless as you do the hard but good work of parenting! May He guide you with all wisdom!
Together We Raise the Next Generation,
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