I think that today's kids have it a lot harder because they don't have parents that are parenting them. You probably weren't expecting that, were you? (Of course, I'm not talking about ALL parents here, you understand, but the vast majority -- at least where I live). I know many of you stay at home with your kids and that those of you who work are doing the best you can. This is not about whether you work outside the home or are able to stay at home, so let's not go there. I worked the first 7 years of my daughter's life and it was the most incredibly difficult thing I've ever done, so my hat's off to any mom that is able to juggle the never-ending demands of parenting as well as a full time job.
But I see so many parents lacking two little words called "integrity" and "character". The simple definition of "integrity" is making sure your words and your deeds line up in accordance with one another. But it's really so much more. Character is the ability to meet the demands of reality. When a person is lacking in either one, successful parenting is almost impossible. Have you ever heard a parent say, "I just can't take it anymore!" (I've said that myself a number of times - don't think I'm not talking about me here, too)That is a lack of character, or the ability to meet the demands of reality.
When I was growing up in Alaska, we fished every summer. I used to love sitting at the aft of our boat and watch the wake following behind us. It is such a beautiful, ever-changing creation as the boat continues on its path. You can tell a lot about a boat from its wake - how fast it's going, if it's steady and on course, or if the captain is dozing at the wheel (the wake will waver back and forth and look erratic). In other words, what the wake looks like can tell you a lot about the boat itself.
Parenting is a lot like that wake. Our parenting style is easily determined by the wake we leave behind. Have you ever noticed that there are two sides to every wake? In parenting, I would say that those two sides are the task side (what are you accomplishing) and the relationship side (how do you deal with your kids).
Are you focused on growing and training your children up in the way they should go? Or is it easier to avoid an argument and just let them do what they want? At the end of the day, we have to look back and ask ourselves if our wake was profitable or not. The wake doesn't lie and it doesn't care about excuses. It is what it is. I'm certainly no parenting expert, but I do have the ability to think for myself and learn from the mistakes I've witnessed others making in order to avoid repeating them. So many so-called Christians are living in denial and expecting the schools, their churches and daycares to raise their kids and teach them about morals. They use the excuse that they are "overextended" and "stressed out". Excuse me, who isn't? That's a poor excuse for turning their children over to the world, if you ask me. Their children aren't the reason they are working so hard (although they may lie to themselves and say they are) -- the reason they are working so hard is because they like "things" and want to have the newest and finest and they want it right now.
On the other side of the wake are our relationships. This is the side where we leave the effects of our interactions with our kids on their hearts and minds. Do you think most kids are out there water-skiing on the wake, smiling and having a great time because they've had us as parents? Or are they left out there bobbing for air, bleeding, and left wounded as shark bait? Do todays kids consider it a blessing or a curse to have us as their parents?
These things have been weighing heavily on my mind lately. I've focused more of my time and energy toward my new design business and I've watched how my children have reacted. It's a huge challenge to be consistent and have integrity when it comes to parenting. It's even more difficult to find the character to face reality and say I've screwed up. But I'm honestly trying.
I'm also interested in your thoughts. Whether or not you agree. You can blog about it and link back to this post or leave it in my comments, either way works for me. You don't have to agree with me - just give me a sound reason as to why your think I'm wrong. Only one request - please keep it nice.
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