In yesterday’s local paper, there was an article about one major problem facing families today. The author believes that one major problem with families is that we think too much about our kids. I don’t know if I can word it as well as he did, but I thought that he had a great point. Today, especially in Christian circles, we invest so much into our kids. Our lives almost completely revolve around our kids — getting them to their different activities, playing with them, doing crafts with them, teaching them, and more. Once we become parents, our lives are so filled with our children, that we know how to talk of nothing else. What’s the hot topic on the soccer field? How great little Johnny is doing in school. Or how many activities Susie is involved in. In many cases, it is discipline. I can hardly remember the last time I had a conversation with someone (other than my hubby) about a good book that I read. I can’t recall the last time I talked to someone about ways to be a better wife, yet I was a wife first and will still be a wife when the children are grown with their own families! There was a time when the parents went about their lives and added the children to it. They didn’t completely change their lives to be about the children, but that seems to be what we do now. I think that this mentality of being all about the kids has led to the issue of the “helicopter parent.” Many moms today can’t even let their sons go to college without giving him a daily wake-up call. The author of the article wasn’t saying that we shouldn’t spend time with our kids or be involved in their lives (and I’m not trying to say that, either). The problem is that we are so involved that our children have lost respect for us. They see us as their servants — because we act that way! We stop whatever we are doing to answer their questions, cart them around, and help them with things. In so doing, we teach that the children are more important than we are, therefore, we don’t deserve respect. If you think back to the days of slavery and servanthood, were the slaves or servants respected? Rarely. They were considered lesser beings. We are doing our children a disservice if we allow them to learn that our lives revolve around them. Not only will they not respect us, they won’t know how to deal with life in the real world! I think that we, as a society, need to get in balance. I have a theory that some of this attitude is a reaction to the generation that left us alone. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who had 2 working parents who had little time for me and I find myself wanting to redeem that by being with my children more. But I probably spend too much time with them and they are losing the ability to entertain and imagine for themselves.
This author, I don’t think was coming from a biblical world view. The Bible certainly has plenty to say about parenting! I won’t go into all those references now, but I do want to consider the Proverbs 31 woman. She is supposed to be the idea woman, right? Only once in that description are her children mentioned! That is the verse in which the children (& husband) call her blessed. They are alluded to two other times. One time is in regard to preparing food for the household and the other is in regard to guarding the ways of the household. Otherwise, that woman is hard at work! She is too busy keeping a tight budget, making & mending clothes, preparing meals, selling clothes & vineyards, giving to the poor, and sharing wisdom with those around (can include children, of course!) to spend a whole lot of time playing with the children or doing crafts with them. I suspect that those children played on their own while she worked. I’m sure that she always kept a mindful eye on them and corrected them when necessary. And certainly some teaching and training occured. But there is no reason to believe that she stopped what she was doing to engage in these things. On the contrary, I bet she is teaching and training as she goes about doing those things. In the Old Testament there is a Scripture that speaks about teaching your children about the Lord when you sit, stand, or lie down. That basically means, you are teaching them as you go about your day when any even minor occassion arises! So, I hope to personally do better about being a godly woman and wife and letting those things be my central focus rather than concerning myself in every moment with my children. I will still spend time with them, but my chores, errands, and own desires will not be trampled over by the boys. Instead, I will use those times to teach them about good time management, reading letters and words while we pass by signs, listening to the Word of God preached, singing His praises, keeping a clean house and why we do so, and whatever else may come to mind in the moment. And as a start, I plan to make my children play by themselves in their room for half an hour to an hour. That will give them time to learn to entertain themselves (or each other), to love each other, and to know that Mommy’s life is not created to be their servant!