I once told a child of mine it was going to take Heaven for them to make eleven. They were 10 and driving me insane. Good news. We both made it. They graduated College, married with kids. The point is not that we get pushed to our limits with our kids. It is what we do with that limit’s line. It is just so easy to give into them.
Drawing lines. Boundaries. We make them, we move them. Why? When did we become so pliant as parents?
A proverb, not a promise. They still have free will.
“Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)
The Potter molds the clay. The clay does not tell the clay what to do. Sometimes there is harsh molding, sometimes, gentle strokes, so light and fine, but, there. It depends on the desired effect. Changing the design midstream does not add to the finished project. It weakens it and sometimes destroys it. Remember, just as God is the Potter to His children, you are a potter to yours. Parenting is being the potter. It is a long and tedious process. Taking your hands off and letting them spin out of control results in catastrophe. Sometimes shattered forever. Although, The Potter never makes mistakes, although we do as clay molders. Will there be flaws and defects? Probably. We have them and we have The Potter molding us. Stubborn clay.
Firm molding, hands on. Or, tough love. Call it what you like. I taught mine that every child has a right to a place to sleep, food to eat and an education. And I told them (many times to their chagrin) that no where, no way does that mean they get their own private bedrooms with all the smart technology. No where, no way does that mean they get designer drinks at the local cafe, lobster, steaks and expensive desserts. No where, no way does that mean they get private school when homeschooling or a local good public school is available.
I raised mine with no technology in their bedrooms. Computer was in the family room. They had an alarm clock, and extension to our landline for group school work or team calls. No cell phones, computers or music technology were in their room. They could take a player in to listen to music quietly as they studied. No head phones. That was a place to sleep and study. They were class “A” personalities, in public schools, they each obtained 5 Varsity letters. Education at church and school came first. They earned the plus treats. They were guaranteed a place to sleep, peanut butter sandwiches or school lunches, and bus rides to school. They earned their own bedroom, waffles, pancakes, packed lunches, home-cooked meals, fast food trips, and all theactivity fees plus mom’s taxi to all the extra curricular activities. I put as much as 30,000 miles a year on those taxi’s and as many of their friends as that mini van could carry.
Yes, we gave up the upgrades to a bigger house (we had 1500 sq ft), fantastic vacations, my career job and all that would have afforded. I worked at their schools instead. But, as they strove under my boundaries to achieve, we did all we could to enrich their lives. We still took beach trips occasionally, camped, hiked and went to the water and amusement parks in summer. You just need to set boundaries by the best children’s manual, The Bible, and stick to them.
If you are raising your children with champagne taste on a beer budget, as the colloquialism says, then it is time to take a step back. Why are we putting the pressure on them to live that way? Why are we putting that kind of pressure on the family? Because of our desire to fit in for appearance sake? No, labels on clothes are not wrong. I bought them … on the sale rack? I never bought for the sake of the label. If it was the best buy then that was fine. There was such satisfaction in getting something they wanted on sale. But, there are good clothes, foods, etc. that are not the best appeal to the world. So why do you care what the world thinks? Why would you want to teach a child to do what is okay with others when it is not okay with God? What kind of stewardship are you teaching them? What kind of life will they try to lead on those kind of values?
God’s opinion matters, the world’s does not. It may be painstaking to detoxify your kids and give them a reality check, and by that, I mean a God check. It may take a lesson on The Beatitudes: Attitudes to Be. But, it is much better than the judgement day check we will all receive, both parent and child, if we do not realign ourselves with Biblical values.