Monday, January 19, 2009

Raising Kids? There is a Secret!

Raising kids is anything but a piece of cake.  It's hard work and even more so if you know the secret.  In my last post I said I would share the secret to raising children.  As promised the secret is "consistency."  The Random House Dictionary of the English Language defines consistent as "constantly adhering to the same principles, course, form, etc.; holding firmly together."   Even the name itself implies that it takes longer than sixty seconds or even sixty months!   

We all want our children to consistently behave but in order for that to happen it means that we as parents and adults must be consistent in our own lives and that is more times then not where the real problem lies. Too many blame the the child when in reality the problem is found in the inconsistent lives of one or both parents.  If you're reading this you may be ready to go somewhere else but before you do indulge me a little a little longer.

At this point I need to issue a disclaimer.  I did not grow up with consistency in my home.  As a matter of fact I grew up with an opposing view.  The idea of being consistent as an adult never meant much until I was married and the first of 8 kids arrived.  As we raised our children my wife daily demonstrated consistency in her words and actions.  She also did the same for me which actually meant that at times she was raising 9 children.  It was hard for me to be consistent and be what I thought for a while was a "mean parent."  Ahhh, but as the years passed I began to see the importance of "constantly adhering to the same principles" as we worked hard at "holding" our family "firmly together."  So anything that I have learned about being consistent has come from the love of my life as I have watched her year after year.

There are many philosophies about rasing childred and the idea of changing a child's attitude, behavior and character in 60 seconds or less is one of those philosophies.  There is another philosophy that is found in the Bible.  Proverbs 22:6 tells us "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."  You may have even heard this verse before or memorized it in Sunday School.  There is great confusion today about the way a child should go.  As one parent said who I talked to about this subject several years ago, "how can we know that one way is better than another?"  There are so many ideas out there that are grounded in a contemporary culture that has lost it's spiritual and moral compass.  If these new philosophies worked then we would see test scores going up, decreased violence in school, a return to respect and civility in children and teenagers.  What we find is a continued collapse of the family unit, family values and fewer parents who know "the way" that their children should go than any other time in the history of our nation.
There is nothing more exciting than the birth of a baby.  I have had the privilege of being present for  the birth of all 8,  and had the heartbreak of holding one we lost.   Each one of them is a unique miracle and all of the dirty diapers, late night feedings and training was worth it all. Please understand that nothing can be a greater blessing than a new son or daughter. Remember though,  that that same little blessing can grow up to break your heart as a 15 year old.  As a parent you cannot fail; you must not fail.  No possession you have has more value than your child or your children.  They are the only eternal things you leave behind when you depart this world.   
What I have shared in this entry and the one before it is only a brief introduction to the hardest and most rewarding job in the world; being a parent .  Don't give up, there is hope!  You can do it! But you must be consistent and "know the way!" 

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