“Don’t prepare the road for your children, prepare your children for the road.”Unknown
Saw this quote somewhere and it brings to mind something that has been giving me a little bit of worry about the next generation, and by that I mean most children aged 10 years and under.
I’ve noticed that a lot of us who are now parents (at least those born in the late 70s/early 80s are dropping the ball on raising children who can stand by themselves and can face basic adversity with minimal fuss.
In the name of making sure our children don’t “suffer the way we suffered”, we are raising children who have been so sheltered that they can’t do basic things like cross the road, organise, carry or even maintain their stuff by themselves, do basic household chores because we consider those things as beneath them.
Imagine a 15-year-old, almost 6-foot tall boy who can’t get himself to an examination centre less than 2km to the home alone, whose dad had to carry his examination credentials to the door of the exam hall for him all in the name of “he is careless and can lose it”, or a who doesn’t even know how to iron his own shirt cos, “he will burn it”, can’t or doesn’t even know how to polish his own shoes, can’t wash his own underwear well, I can go on and on.
I agree that knowing how to do all the above doesn’t guarantee success in life or isn’t a measure of success, but that’s part of the reasons we have a lot of lazy, non-productive and entitled young adults who drop out, quit jobs, end relationships, close shop and so on when faced with the slightest challenge with minimum resistance.
Your 4-5 year old child attempted to climb the stairs of like 3 steps and falls down once then you decide to make it an habit to carry him over every little obstacle, she trips while carrying a bowl of water, then you ban her from doing any chores in the house.
What you are drilling into the child’s head is that he/she isn’t capable, weak, fragile and should run from any opposition they encounter.
We are meant to be guides to these divine gifts and not be crutches for them to lean on as they trudge on through life.
We are supposed to be shoulders they can stand on to see and go far in life and not wheelchairs to wheel them through life.
No matter how strong, caring, rich, connected and devoted you are, you can’t always be there to defend, fend and assist your child all the days of his/her life.
As the bible says, `Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.‘ (Proverbs 22:6.).
We are supposed to be coaches, mentors, guides and role models to our children.
Have you ever seen a boxing/tennis/football coach enter the fray on behalf of their charge(s)?
So, teach your children to stand on their own feet, make their own decisions, live by their own convictions, of course you can always, teach, correct, advise, encourage and prompt them from time to time.
But make sure they a properly grounded and rounded in every area of life not only in their academics, let them learn proper social skills to enable them cope with other people from different backgrounds.
Teach them the law of cause and effect.
Teach them boundaries to enable them manage their appetites and avoid covetousness.
Teach them to respect elders and authority figures.
Teach them how to manage and take proper care of things, (they can start with their toys!)
Teach them that adversity, challenges and opposition are a normal part of life (it is how character is built!).
Teach them that although challenges and problems are going to arise in life, they are however not going to last forever.
Let them know that that’s how character is trained.
Above all, let them know God from an early age, teach them the power of faith and confession.
Model Christ consistently in all you do, the truth is that this current generation learns more by observation than by instruction.
Let there be conformity between what you say and what you do!
Don’t say or instruct one thing and do another!
Today’s children are more intuitive and observant than you can ever imagine!
The Lord will help us.
We will succeed as parents and our children will succeed in life in Jesus name.