Friday, October 17, 2008

Do you love your children?

Do you love your children? And if you do, how do you show it. Do you ever consider the connection between who your heroes are and how your children turn out?

I’ve worked with so many families where the kid’s heroes were television wrestling stars. It showed. I’ve worked with families where the kid's heroes were their drug dealing / criminal dads. It showed. No surprise, the heroes for those dads when they were young were also criminals.

Who is your hero? Who would you like to emulate? For the atheist it might be Richard Dawkins, or for the drunken atheist it might be Christopher Hitchens. For someone else it might be a sports figure (I don’t mean the plastic ones - a real one). For someone else it might be Ghandi or Martin Luther. For me it’s Jesus and here’s why.

Right or wrong, good or bad, my children, and especially my sons want to be like me when they grow up. They tell me that they love me and that they hope they can “be brave like you dad,” “be strong like you dad,” “be kind like you dad,” “help people like you dad.” Virtually all parents have heard something similar from their children.

What that means however is that I can’t take the easy way out. I can’t say just any old thing or do just any old thing. My children are watching me. They would notice if I told them to be honest but told a lie myself. They would notice if I told them to be kind but wasn’t kind to them. There’s a really good line that goes,
“Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate.

Some people believe that the best way to raise children is to tell them to trust no one - question everything, “Be Sceptical.” I couldn’t disagree more.

While discernment is necessary, it’s far more important to give our children something to trust. Help them to put their feet on solid ground. Let them know that they don’t need to live their lives in perpetual doubt. That grounding starts with us, the parents.

I love my children. I care about their futures. Having a good life, is like having a good marriage. It is not a crap shoot where it might work out or it might not. A good life, a good tomorrow and good relationships are built by the good decisions that we make today. My life is not my own.

I want to be like Jesus because my children want to be like me.

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