Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Raising Nice Kids Part II

Thanks for all your insightful comments on the last post. I love being part of conversations (even if online) where everyone can share freely and respectfully.

I think the gist of what I'm feeling from this book is that our kids need to be equipped to be more than just 'nice'. 'Nice' is great but can be so ambiguous. What is their 'nice' based in?

The second chapter is titled "Parenting as Discipleship" and holds to the thought that parenting should be more than just modifying our children's behavior. It shouldn't be just raising them into compliant little people that are dressed and groomed well and show good manners in public. That's part of it, of course, but they need preparation.....preparation and conditioning to take on the challenges they will most certainly face in life.....getting them ready to do battle in the 'cosmic contest' that is going on around them.

So here are some of the main ideas of this chapter that I found most intriguing....

"We want to pass on lasting values to our kids. To do this we need a perspective that is transcultural and not simply a product of our culture. We need a long term perspective that is not obsessed with short term payoffs."

"We are on a mission from God. We have been called by Him to raise up the next generation of moral leaders. We need to move beyond punishment and discipline to discipleship."

"Discipline should be understood not as punishment but as teaching of self-discipline, an internalization of values through relationship."

"The primary goal of parenting isn't teaching, it's modeling"

"A focus on discipline generally creates compliant kids, but it rarely produces courageous ones. Now I am not advocating a permissive style of parenting; I am calling us to a more demanding style of parenting - one that requires us to change and grow and provide the example. Discipleship calls on us to set the pace, knowing that our children are most likely to absorb the values they see lived out in our lives. We can teach them skills, but we need to show, not tell, when it comes to what we say is important."

That last paragraph is the most telling for me in the chapter. This book is reminding me that to change my children, most of the time I need to change myself too. I need to be present and cognizant of my daily doings.

Is what I am saying/telling my children matching up with the way that I am living on a day to day basis? Am I around when those 'teachable moments' present themselves or am I too absorbed in myself? Am I trying to occupy them by buying them the lastest and greatest, signing them up for every imaginable activity or am I showing them that I intend to be intentional and deliberate in the time I share with them?

Sometimes these questions are hard to ask....but we have to be honest with ourselves....not delude ourselves to think we're already doing everything we can to raise them.....I know that when I ask myself some of those questions the answers that I give are not the ones that will be in the best interest of raising my kids. So I have to change....and be willing to change.



Simplyliz said...

interesting... I do think some families get into the "Busy is good" mentalities, that is how I grew up. Being involved in positive activities doesn't take the place of family example.

Our pastor, once a youth pastor, told a story of unchurched parents who would drop their kids off at youth group with a "could ya fix them for me?" type attitude. Not ideal, obviously. An example of the parent modeling necessity...

Catherine said...

Brings to mind one of my new favorite quotes: "Of course, we will face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to die manfully, but also as a determination to live decently. A moral coward is one who is afraid to do what he thinks is right because others will disapprove or laugh. Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with dignity have courage as well." --Thomas S. Monson
I think that's one of the goals we have as parents. Sure, we want our kids to be "good" and make those good, big choices, but we also want kids who will stand up in the face of wrong.