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July 8, 2023

The first school in which we enroll, and the most important in shaping our future, is our home. A casual view of modern TV shows might lead us to believe that parents don’t matter. I contend that nothing matters more.

When Benjamin West was a boy, his mother left him in charge of his younger sister, Sally. Benjamin found bottles of colored ink and painted Sally’s portrait. When his mother arrived home, she discovered spilled ink and ruined paper. But before she had the chance to scold Benjamin, she saw the picture. Then she planted an encouraging kiss on his cheek. He would grow up to become of the greatest painters of historic and religious artworks, a teacher of many other famous artists, and a major force in launching Britain’s Royal Academy of Arts, for which he served as president. Benjamin West would later say, “My mother’s kiss made me a painter.”

Every child’s life is like a book of blank pages waiting to be written on. Something is written each day. A parent who exposes a child of hours of television, video games, unsupervised time on the Internet, and an occasional trip to church is not likely to raise a child whose value system will mirror that of the parent. The child will probably reflect the value system of the entertainment industry.

While researching for a book I co-wrote on juvenile delinquency (“Kids Who Kill”), I became aware that children need parents who are informed, involved and (yes) invasive in their children’s lives. There is no single fact that will explain why a child as young as eleven would commit mass murder, but one thing seems certain: the likelihood of this taking place decreases drastically when children have a stable home, good role models and parents who are clearly more afraid for their children than afraid of their children.

Too many parents fear angering or alienating their children. They convince themselves that love means avoiding asking their children questions about how their time is spent and who their friends are. They fool themselves into thinking they’re being good parents when they don’t hold their children accountable for their schoolwork and other activities. On the other hand, we shouldn’t be “helicopter parents” who are so overprotective that our children turn into a generation of “snowflakes” who cannot learn through their failures or develop a healthy maturity and independence.

The requirement of parents summed up in Ephesians 6:4 is simple yet profound: “Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Children should not be driven to exasperation by parents who make demands that are so difficult to achieve that the children are prevented from succeeding. There’s a vast difference between breaking a child’s rebellious will and breaking his or her spirit.

As parents, our goal should be to channel the energy of our children, rather than destroy their creative and curious natures given by God that motivate them to discover their unique purposes. We are further admonished to bring up our children “in the training and instruction of the Lord.” By both example and exhortation, parents are to nourish their children. Most values are caught and then taught. Our children are more likely to imitate what they see us do than what they hear us say.

We live in a world where a meal can be microwaved in seconds, and an Internet message can be transmitted around the world almost instantly (another reason why it would be nice if they were fact-checked before hitting “Send.”) But part of the legacy we must leave is raising children who understand that some things can’t be rushed. Patience is a virtue as well as a pathway to victory. Things of great value take time.

If the thing to which you ascribe the greatest value in your life is your children, then don’t they deserve the greatest amount of time, nurturing and guidance you can possible give?

(Adapted from the book, “Rare, Medium or Done Well: Make the Most of your Life.” )

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The problem with Socialism

Comments 11-20 of 23

  • Catherine Haenze

    07/09/2022 12:28 PM

    Obviously, this got pushed aside. But, I thought you might read it anyway. I see too much physical discipline By the time my husband and I had one child, I learned that my daughter at age 8 months could understand a lot of what I said. We were off to a morning of grocery shopping and a late lunch with friends. As we were headed toward the luncheon in a winter snow time, I turned to her over my shoulder and said: OK, Sweetie, we're going to go to a morning snack time with other ladies. You will be late for naptime when we get home. However, you will need to go right to your naptime. Only a potty stop when we get home. If you do this, we'll go other times. If you fuss about going for your nap, next time will be your naptime while I leave you with a sitter. Got it? I looked over my shoulder as I pulled into a parking space.
    And that is exactly what she did. She quickly jumped out of our now parked car and beat me to the door. She climbed into her bed, pulled the blanket up, rolled over and was asleep without fuss.
    In the future, when we said "This is a late nap day," she went right to naptime as soon as we got home. By the time the other two were born to us did that, even children who were visiting took edict too, well, if I said so, and the parents weren't ready to go.
    My children used the same discipline, and now my grandchildren are using the same process.

  • Hal Harper

    07/07/2022 07:44 PM

    I believe Grandparents also affect a child's future. Our Grandson and Great Grandson love to spend time with us. At 76, I just took both for a 2.5 mile bicycle ride. They play well together being 12 and 8 respectively. The eight-year old says he needs sleep-over time with his Uncle!

  • Karen D Edwards

    07/07/2022 04:16 PM

    Love this article. We were just praying for this very thing at prayer group last night. Thank you for your wisdom and insight. Thank our God for giving you talent and the courage to spread our need of Him. Blessings!

  • Jesse Tomblin

    07/07/2022 04:12 PM

    The headline describes every Democrap in DC as to what they have between their ears.

  • Paula Herold

    07/07/2022 02:59 PM

    Thanks for the wisdom in your articles, comments, each and every day. This one on education was "right on", and the story of Newsom's words to Floridians shows how arragant and "full of himself" he truly is. Governor DeSantis is over the top. Thanks for the wisdom each day, each time I read your take on all subjects.

  • John Maier

    07/07/2022 01:32 PM

    Mike, your right on. My daughter gradusted in 1995 and I could see it then. When my granddaughter started public school, I was quite nervous. She was assulted in high school and the school wasn't going to do anything about it so my daughter took her out of scbool and entolled her in an online school, an ASU school where 2 college classes a year are offered ( $75) per year if she maintains a 3.0 gpa. Happy to say she is excelling, on the honor roll.

  • Peggy Rendleman

    07/07/2022 01:29 PM

    Your article certainly reflects my opinion on family life and child-rearing. I hope everyone will read it.

  • Paul Kern

    07/07/2022 01:28 PM

    I would use a term to describe these adult children still on Pablum. Crispy Critters. The stuff they are brainwashed with has totally fried their brains!

  • Samuel W Baugh

    07/07/2022 01:24 PM

    First step... Eliminate the Federal Board of Education.
    Second Step... Get the Unions out of Education
    Third Step... PTA's need to review and approve all books used in the Public Education system.

    I am 80 and my mother was an active PTA member and against many of the books (socialist leaning) back soon after WW II and while I was in Grade School, Columbus, Ohio.

  • Keith Nation

    07/07/2022 01:08 PM

    I loved the quote " My mother's kiss made me an artist" I do believe love makes character along with the proper guidance and encouragement also let's not forget the words of the Lord that needs to be brought back into the school. Keep up the great work Governor Huckabee