Monday, April 14, 2014

Balancing Our Children in an Off-Balanced World

"Modern parenting is creating a generation that’s not going to be able to function in society." ~ Stephanie Metz

I seriously would like everyone's input about this article:
Why My Kids are NOT the Center of My World

I see both sides of the coins. Quite frankly, if all my children and grandsons were taken from me tomorrow, I would loose my purpose--my center--in life. They are my world, the center, no less.

Yet, I understand what the author is saying as well.

Though I had a relatively easy childhood, a good education, loving parents, good friends, and good health; I learned about the school of hard knocks. My parents loved me and cared for me and have always been there for me but they never let me think that the world revolved around me. That would have been a disservice to my spiritual growth.

My father, born in 1931, would probably agree with the above article. He says we (the country) are raising children to think they are all that and who, in turn, can't function in society.

He says he was bullied and didn't contemplate or attempt suicide.

He roamed the streets of our town countless hours unsupervised and all the business owners knew him by name.

He played basketball games when neither of his parents came because they were working. He didn't let it stop him from playing.

He talks about not being able to make his college graduation because he got drafted to Korea but he doesn't mourn the loss of a walk down the stage because his country demanded something more of him.

He recalls having been electrocuted at the age of twelve and developing tuberculosis while in Korea, then he tells the story of seeing a young crippled child attempting to walk down the hospital hallway, stopping, and whining to be held and the parent insisting she had to walk the length without any assistance. Opa always ends his reflection with, "And I realized that I had nothing to complain about."

He remembers having to go and get his father off the barstool because he was too drunk to drive home, but Opa does not tell people outside the family those memories. He tells only the good things his father did for him.

Life is too short for pity-parties, would probably sum up Opa's view of life.

Now...in truth...my dad was a child of the Great Depression. They were born tough back then.

And...in truth...he made sure that he was present to my brother and I every night and present at all our activities. He did not raise us to experience the same hardship he experienced. He worked long hours at the post office to provide a nice living for our family. I remember the smell of papers and newsprint on him, never alcohol.

But now he shakes his head at the world around him. He's 82 and he doesn't understand it anymore. He gives standing litanies about the ruin of the young people until his granddaughter, the RN on the oncology floor who is as practical and even-centered as Opa himself, asks him if he's saying she's not compassionate or hard-working enough. Is she not caring enough?

And Opa pauses, at a loss for words.

He has eight hard-working, compassionate grandchildren who care for him. He did something right. They are what he leaves a world he is disillusioned with. They are what he leaves a cynical, uncaring world.

It isn't sappy or weak to be kind. It takes courage to be the good Samaritan. But to allow our children to think they are the latest and greatest?

Well, Christianity has taught that each of us are individually unique and worthy and beautiful, created in the image of God Himself.

How do you argue with truth?

But when you get to the point of thinking we are entitled? or too fabulous to fit in?

A reality check is necessary.
 
A reality check that reminds us that the person irritating the hell out of us is as individually unique, worthy and beautiful in the sight of God and was also created in the image and likeness of God.

I do believe it's necessary to raise our children to be kind and compassionate and well-grounded and well-rounded.

Sometimes...oftentimes...we are taught to be kind and compassionate more by the cruelty of others than from being told to have good manners. Someone is cruel to us and someone else soothes us.

Which one teaches us?

Life, it teaches us.

It is my duty to be the comforter, the one to sooth, the one to listen and understand. That's my job. Yet I want my children to know that while they are the center of My World, they are not the center of The Whole World.  There should only be one center for all of us and that is Christ Himself.

It's in the home we should find the comfort and kindness that a hurting world does not give. I've often said that if I don't have my child's back, if I am not their best advocate, no one else will be.

And the reality is that many children go home to a house rather than a home.

The world hurts them and so does their families. That's not fair.

Then again life is not fair.

I'm also not a fan of competition. Tell this to my child who thrives on competing. For me competition can become very ugly, very quickly. Yet, the older I get, the more I see that it has its place in the world. I'm still on the fence about it though. I've never seen much good come from competition. Even yesterday I shared with my daughter-in-loves how much I still detest Easter egg hunts though I've taken my children (and now my grandsons) to egg hunts every single year.

Where's the sanity?

I guess I figured a good Easter egg hunt would toughen my children better than I ever would (or could). That's probably why.

The one thing I try to focus on with my children (something we all fall subject to, myself included) is the complaining spirit. There simply isn't room for it and no one else wants to hear it. One of my children has a harder time with this ugly spirit than the others. She has always wrestled with harnessing in the complaining spirit. But she's not grown yet. We're still working on it and, in time, she'll learn that the world has no room for that kind of thing. I've seen a vast improvement with her reigning it in in the past year or so.

But I have to reign my flaw in alongside of her. I have to show her by example how to do it.

My question is which side of the coin do you agree with?

It is joked about that the best parents don't have children yet. We see the justice-call and the toughing-it-up very well before we become parents; then a little innocent, helpless image of ourselves is placed into our harms and we become the soul-protectors, no longer the judges.

Part of placing our children in the center is only natural.

How do we balance our children in a world that is clearly off-balance?

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