I am troubled by a society that devalues life directly and insidiously and then markets that idea to our kids through video games, music, movies, and television. This, in turn, contributes to kids not realizing that life should be respected, nurtured, and protected. I am concerned about kids who see themselves as cosmic accidents and haphazard, random events. It’s the opposite of how to build self-confidence and self-worth. If life is seen as accidental, then wasting my life, or taking someone else’s may not be that big of a deal.
We have ten kids and so we have a lot of issues with keeping our kids on track. I actually just read Proverbs yesterday where it says something along the lines of Train up a child in the way he should go…guide him down the right path…and when he’s older he won’t leave it. The question is how do you really guide them? How do you keep them on the right path? How do you discipline kids? There is a balance between the nurturing side, knowing kids make mistakes and thinking back to the days where I was a child, and the discipline side. Communicating to them, You have to do the right things. If you do the wrong things it will hurt you in the long run. As a result, you are going to suffer consequences.
Self-esteem and how they see themselves is so important in children. Many times how they see themselves is totally different than how everyone else in the world sees them. It can be hard to know how to build self-esteem in our kids. No one wants a child who thinks too highly of themselves, but it is equally bad when they think too low of themselves. They need to know that they are important.
The number one thing I think for a parent is spending time with kids. That’s how you are going to demonstrate that you love them. Getting the time with kids becomes difficult as schedules become hectic or job demands come upon you. When you have to be away from home for a considerable amount of time, how can you spend time with your kids and show them how much they mean to you?
As a society, we claim that we like athletes who tend to be humble and quiet, but in reality, those aren’t the guys who get the focus—at least not as much as the other guys who are trying to bring attention to their own names. Barry Sanders and Deion Sanders came into the NFL together in 1989. Barry was “old school.” He did his job and played spectacular football, and when he scored a touchdown, he handed the ball to the official and then went back to the bench. After games, it was hard to get him to talk about himself. He would praise his offensive lineman, then head out and stay away from the camera as much as possible.
Just because you have erred doesn’t mean you’re out of the running to be a good dad. We all fall short. The Bible wasn’t written for those who have it figured out, but instead, it is God’s Word to those of us who are muddling through life. I believe that we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” but we have been given the freedom through Christ to forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead as we “press on to reach the end of the race.”
As a parent, I am often talking to my kids about their behavior and how to correct it. They’ve heard me say many times, “Look this is something we don’t do,” or “Mom and I have talked to you about this,” or “God has talked about this.” But every now and then they will fire back at me about something I have done. “Hey dad, you’ve talked to us about being calm and under control and you’re yelling at us.” Have you ever had your kid call you out as a parent?
Alcohol consumption and especially teen drinking has become a major problem in our society today. There are many reasons for that, but one is our kids get so many messages that drinking alcohol is fun and cool. That is what they are seeing. As parents, we need to be proactive on the other side of it. First, my wife and I have chosen not to drink alcohol and not because we think it’s wrong as adults. We’ve chosen not to because don’t want to give our kids the idea that we can do it as adults, while they need to wait. They see us not drinking and hopefully, that will rub off on them. Second, we also have a lot of conversations with them about the dangers of alcohol, especially young people drinking alcohol. In those ways, we’ve tried to be proactive.
Last month baseball lost one of the greatest pitchers of all time in Roy Halladay who passed away in a plane crash. There were many tributes to him, but one thing expressed over and over again was his work ethic. He would always be the first person at the ballpark to work out. He learned how to develop good habits, such as discipline and hard work. Habits such as these made him into a sure bet Hall of Famer.
No one ever wants to be one of those annoying parents. Have you ever thought about something your parents did when you were a child and said to yourself, I’m never going to do that when I’m a parent? Maybe you’ve even thought, I’m going to be better than that. Then you find yourself doing that very thing. I’ve been there.