“What Message Do We Want Our Children To Hear?”
by Tracie Nolde
As we are knee deep into another school year, I can’t help but notice all the posts and blogs written to teens and parents of children about how to be “successful” in life by following a set of rules. Most of these contain a list of 10-15 “rules” to follow. The rules sound similar to this:
- Success is EVERYTHING in life!
- Grades are the most important and the only thing; especially in High School.
- Join every sport, club or after school activity no matter what the cost.
- Never be sedentary.
As I read through these list of “rules” we are imparting to our children, I find a common theme being shouted to them…..DO MORE, BE BETTER!!! Now, none of these rules are inherently bad, but the motivation behind them is not right. First, we are living in a society that already tells us as mothers that you have to have it all together, you really don’t measure up, your house should look like a page from Pinterest, you should be doing so much more and the list goes on. Is this really the same message we want our children to hear and pressure we want them to face as they grow into young adults?
Social Media is all about putting our best face forward and I know for me…
these things just make people around me think I have it all together, but on the inside I am usually crazy and feeling guilty about something else. In the fallen world we live in society tells us that we need Newer, Better, Faster, Bigger and More of Everything!! This is a lie that we have all bought into. These things won’t make us happy and never will. All you have to do is look at Hollywood to see that. More importantly, this is not what God wants for us. What the world tells us is the best and what God tells us is not the same.
Jesus came to give us Life and a life of abundance. (John 10:10) This abundant life includes peace, contentness and simplicity. Simplicity involves trust and faith and faith is built when we have a personal relationship with God. This year I want to write a new set of rules for my children to follow that teach them the true meaning of being content.
I want my children to know who they are in God.
The world tells us to seek self –knowledge and find ourselves, but we were never made to find ourselves. We will only find ourselves in God. The bible says we are made in the image of God, so only knowing the One whose image we are made in makes sense of our own image. God has given each of us a set of gifts, purpose and destiny over our lives. Elevate the gifts He gave you!!
I want my children to have an Eternal Perspective.
I want my children to know there is something bigger than themselves and understand that everything that happens in their life is orchestrated by God. God only allows, in His love, what is perfect for us. Nothing is happening in our life that is an accident.
I want my children to learn to be still.
This is still so hard for me as I am a first-born and a perfectionist, which means I have a constant “to-do” list scrolling in my head. Being able to learn to be still and hear the voice of God in your life is life-changing.
I want my children to learn emotional intelligence.
They need to know the importance of relationships, how to respect authority and take responsibility, how to compromise, how to handle challenging situations, failures and temptations, how to express grace & forgiveness and how to serve others.
As parents we have to wake up and realize when we are defining our children based on their achievements rather than WHO they are. We have to realize when we are praising them for performing rather than for being good people.
We need to become conscious of what we really want for our children. Is our affection and pride only reserved for academic and extracurricular achievement, or can we begin to see the value in their hobbies, their relationships, and their ability to know and love themselves? Educational pursuits are valuable, important, and necessary in our culture, but formal education isn’t enough.
We need our children to understand the importance of self- respect, compassion, and creativity. We need to teach them that true happiness is not about a score, a grade, an award a sport or a job; it’s about connection to self, connection to others, and connection to this world and most importantly a connection to God, the Author and Creator of all we are and what we do.