Is there such a thing? With my oldest, Holly, being 5-years-old, teaching her to be obedient is currently my focus. My goal is not to raise a perfect child, for there is no such thing or ever will be for that matter. Rather, my desire is to see her develop into a person who treats others with kindness, respects her parents and discovers the God who created her.
When Holly was born, I though she must be the sweetest baby ever, so gentle and innocent looking. Then, two quickly approached and my little chameleon changed. She went from being my docile little baby into a resistant little firecracker. Going grocery shopping was a challenge. She would refuse to sit in the cart, and if I tried, she would cry loudly until she got her way. Needless to say, my shopping trips were cut short.
Now that my firecracker is 5 ½, our shopping trips are much more pleasant. In fact, I leave my other two boys ages 2 and 4 months home with their daddy while Holly and I go out.
It’s not easy raising children. I’ve heard it gets more difficult in the teenage years. As a Christian parent, I have made myself more aware of how our culture effects the raising of our children. The world’s entertainment has become one of parent’s biggest bullies. Our media displays families on television in unappealing way. The parents are portrayed as clueless dummies while the kids appear to have the upper hand as they disrespectfully interact with their parents. Respect and honor towards the parents is a thing of the past.
Many look at our media as innocent and entertaining. However, much of what our kids watch is negatively framing their outlook on life. It is teaching them how to be accepted by the world through appearance and popularity-dressing the right way, saying the right things. They have, in so little words, modeled what the ideal young person should appear as. Adhering to the media’s view of beauty is what our children are taking away, and unfortunately will take into adulthood.
World’s Standard of Beauty
According to our culture, being beautiful gives you worth. It starts as young as toddlers. Baby dolls are given a picture perfect look. I mean who’s ever heard of an average looking doll? Big round eyes, pouty lips and rosy cheeks set the stage. Later they become mesmerized by teeny boppers on television who put great value on their appearance. They come across as something to be desired due to their “television image” when reality it’s all an illusion. As our children get older, they too try to achieve this picture of beauty that has been thrown at them. Trying to look like the world’s view of beauty becomes their mindset. To them, beauty means acceptance.
What if we were to raise our children clearly by the word of God? Is it even possible? I feel, as a parent, it’s me against our society. I’m at a tug of war on who will be the largest influence in my kids’ lives.
As Christian parents, it is our responsibility to give them direction. If we don’t, the culture sure will. If children are left to themselves they will flow with the world. We must set the standard for them to follow.
Be the Example
We’ve all heard the saying “Do as I say not as I do.” Well that won’t fly anymore. Kids are doing as we do, not as we say. I heard a saying years ago and it has stuck with me. “What we do in moderation, our kids will do in excess.” Believe it or not parents, we are our children’s biggest role models. They learn what is acceptable, what is tolerable and how to behave from our example. We read, “ Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Our strongest memories are when we were children. When my husband James and I reminisce, we always go back to our childhood. Those memories stand out the strongest. It’s while our kids are young that we have the greatest influence in their future. The truths we’ve taught them will never leave them.
Raising children should never be taken lightly. In fact, we should face child rearing with 100% involvement. Remember, what they learn from us now, will shape who they become tomorrow.