Monday, April 29, 2013

Blessings and curses: Being parents who bless

There's a  lot of pressure on our kids these days. We want them to over-perform and out-perform  other people's kids in every category possible. I think it is this desire that has given rise to the phenomenon of helicopter parenting - the parenting philosophy that encourages us to be over-involved in all the aspects of our kid's life that has to do with outward performance.

We tend to get wrapped up in how our children are being seen by the world instead of how our children are developing on the inside. This tendency has caused us to make excuses, ignore bad behavior, and justify almost everything our children do or become. We have begun to think that if we are not constantly praising our children and helping them to "feel good" about who they are, then we are not being good parents. Instead of helping our children deal with disappointment and failure, we are not allowing them to be disappointed or fail. We are constantly giving them a false sense of reality; causing them to have unrealistic expectations of themselves, the world and those around them.

By pushing and prodding and helping our children all the way to the top, we are not helping them to succeed we are making ourselves succeed. The entire process really ends up not being about our children, it ends up being about us. Don't think for a minute that our children don't know this.

I believe this new way of parenting which my generation has grabbed onto with both hands will be the curse of the rising generations. Very few people ever succeed without having failed.  Children can't learn to overcome if they never face adversity. Our kids are not going to follow their conscience and make good moral choices if we constantly make excuses for them and don't hold them accountable for their bad choices.

Grace covers a multitude of sins but it doesn't erase the consequences of those sins.

If we truly want to bless our children, then we need to teach them about responsibility, consequences, and self-control, along with a large measure of love and grace. We need to give them opportunities to fail, pick themselves up, move on and still feel good about who they are because of who God created them to be not because of who the world (or we as their parents) think they should be.

In this life there are many more important things than academic, material, or social success. We need to teach our children to measure themselves and others by who they are (children of God), rather than by what they have accomplished. If you want to see your child have true self-esteem, then help them to focus on the One who created them rather than on the things that they create.

 As parents, if we can give our children this one, true gift, then we will truly have blessed them.

-Chesney Szaniszlo

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!

Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.

-Deuteronomy 6:5-9