Why I’m Not Raising Children

I was at Bible study for a total of twenty minutes this morning.  It was the hardest and godliest decision I made all day.  I left before it even started.  Not because I wanted to, mind you.  But because I am a mom.  Both of my children were with me and I quickly realized that it was not in their ability today, and if we stayed, I would be putting my own desires before their needs.  I am not opposed to asking my children to do hard things, but I’ve also been a mom long enough to understand when the situation will be requiring something that is beyond their ability, that particular day.  Any adult can attest to the fact that some days your threshold for coping is higher than other days and I am learning that I need to extend that reality to my children too.

Why?  Why did I not just expect them to “buck up?”  After all, it was Bible study…

Because I am not raising children.  I am raising human beings that were once babies, have now become children, and will soon become adults…quicker than I realize.  I’m raising adults that need to learn and understand how to handle different life situations.  If I do not teach them, no one will.  Our society is already full of oversized children that run around with too much authority and not enough maturity to handle their own responsibilities.

In leaving this morning, we learned to leave a situation with grace.  We thanked our host, quietly excused ourselves, and chose not to take away from others’ learning experience.  I was not required to be there, so while I would have enjoyed it, I was not abandoning a responsibility that would have hurt anyone else.  It was not what I had planned for this morning, but I needed to show my children that I was willing to be flexible for their sake.  They were not being rude or disobedient, they were simply needing me.  So, rather than parenting out of embarrassment, I needed to take our time together to a more appropriate place.  I explained that I cannot always leave a situation, but today it was okay.  Today, we could have more time together.

Children need to understand that in each situation, there are a lot of factors to consider when making a decision.  As they grow, they will be expected to balance an increasing amount of input.  They must be taught how to function graciously in a fluctuating environment.

It would be unhealthy to always leave a situation when my children did not want to be there.  But, it would also be just as detrimental to never excuse ourselves.  Parenting in each extreme is removing reality from our children’s understanding.  They need to learn how to look past their momentary discomfort or boredom.  They also need to experience loving adults putting their (the child’s) preferences first.  Compromise is how healthy relationships function.

If I am raising adults, I need to model how healthy relationships function.  I need to extend them loving preference; they will learn by experience.  I need to follow the guidelines I would like them to adopt. 

 Children are real people with real feelings.  I understand that I just stated the obvious, but it is one that is often forgotten.  Children will treat others exactly how they themselves are being treated.  As parents, the way we interact with our children will establish what kind of adults we raise.  What we’ve introduced in our homes, will be what is on display in public interactions.  Each situation and moment matters.  We are forming the filters by which these future adults will view their worlds.

Why am I not raising children?

You reap what you sow.  Our society is already full of oversized children that run around with too much authority and not enough maturity to handle their own responsibilities.  If we plant children today, there will just be big children tomorrow. 

God reminds us in Galatians 6, that we should only plant what we would like to reap.  “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.  And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (vs. 7-10).

When you are raising adults, the potential for weariness is high!  Do not give up!  It’s supposed to be hard work because it is kingdom-altering work.  The mindset of raising adults will change your daily living and it will be a sanctifying process of doing good to those around you.

Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.–Andy Stanley

{Photo Credit: Framed Living Photography}

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