Have you ever felt that raising a child to adulthood is as complicated as managing the construction of the major building? As parents, we often wonder if we’re capable of teaching our children what they need to know to be successful adults.
It’s hard to believe I’ve been raising future adults for almost 40 years. I know I’ll sound old (I guess I am “older!” 😉) but it honestly doesn’t feel like four decades!
Each one of my kids has created new challenges in my parenting adventure. But one view hasn’t changed over the years — I viewed our children as adults in the making. And I know they develop maturity because of that perspective.
Here’s a caveat — all my parenting experience doesn’t mean I have all the answers. Not a chance! I’ve messed up, tried too many ineffective methods, and have learned what really matters along the way. And you will, too! Trust the process. God has your back!
To our family, success in life means:
- Using the talents God has given each one of us
- Gaining experience and opportunity in that area and many more
- Being able to love what we do
- Being responsible in all areas of life
- Being able to love others well
- All the while glorifying our God Who created us
Now it’s your turn. I’m sure you’ve found there are many avenues to and definitions of “success” in this world. How do you define success? Go ahead, write out your answer. I’ll wait. You’ll use this answer to help process through finding your best methods for raising your kids — ones that will bless you and reap rewards for generations to come.
Oh, So Many Options!
Our family has been around the block and back when it comes to the various trends that promise to produce the well-trained, extremely prepared, totally godly, and quality character-filled adult. Oh my, do we underestimate the effort that goes into raising a baby when we first begin family life! And when we discover how hard it is, we start grasping at the next idea that comes along with its promises of raising another Einstein or corporate CEO or the next president!
But by God’s amazing grace — and some will power, persistence, and common sense — we can and will do get the job done. Now the question arises. How? How do we raise godly, mature adults?
The answer is actually quite simple.
By leaning on God and His Word for what is truly important in this life. No sidestepping our duties; no relying on the world for its tricks of the trade. Just total trust and obedience to what really matters to God. And you’ll find what really matters to Him when you immerse yourself in Scripture to find the answers. Remember, He designed you and your family and He really does know best how to deliver on His promises!
You’ll prove that His ways work when you live like you believe it!
Others will tell you the answer is in “this curriculum” or “that character education” or another “method” to guarantee maturity. Learning about the various options is a way to discover what may work for your family, but remember, there is no one method or program that will achieve results for every type of child/adult. Each has its benefits when used in the right circumstance and family setting. But try to use one of those “right methods” with the wrong personality type or family style and you have a recipe for disaster. And worse yet, your child’s confusion about how to achieve “perfection” can turn to rebellion as adulthood is neared.
I’m not trying to cause you to worry, but when pushed and prodded to become like your friend’s son or daughter or wear that letter on their jacket or get that degree after their name, a child can turn his frustration and stress into giving up on the whole “adult thing.” They get tired of performing. They may quit “adulting” altogether! (Don’t you just love that new term? 🙄) We parents can succumb to that same intense pressure to perform. Have you ever felt like quitting? Been there, done that, have the t-shirt! 😩
If you have older kids, how do you feel when asked THE question. You know the one. It strikes fear into you and your high school child. “What are your plans after you graduate?” We cringe and sweat (My mother used to say “Girls don’t sweat, they perspire!” Love you, Mom!) and we worry about what to say so we’ll look in control and “normal.” We might even change what we choose or believe is best, just to avoid that stress. Not a great plan.
Don’t get me wrong — pressure can be a good thing, but being prepared to deal with it needs to be thought through and prayed about. What is God is showing you and your child that feels right for his or her bent? In my article, How “Not” To Homeschool, I share the importance of working with your child’s individual talent and interests. This helps a child grow into the person God designed them to be.
Each child is unique and boy does that keep us on our toes (and knees)! But that’s just the way we need to roll in order to help them develop and mature in the amazing process of raising successful adults.
You can read my next post on this topic – Breaking the Mold For Raising Responsible Adults. I’ll share our family’s approach for raising children to adults, and how our older ones have developed in their careers!
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8