Raising children is one of the most important jobs that a person can have. The realization of this importance is one of life’s many lessons and comes sooner for some or often too late for many. As I look around, I realize that our culture is not making it easy to parent well. I see children hurting, left to fend for themselves, left to figure out life on their own while they watch their parents seeking their own value in the world, through work or friends or lovers or escape.
I am so grateful that somehow, someway, God created in me a natural understanding of the importance of building and nurturing relationships with my children. I could just go my merry way and feel sorry for those who don’t ‘get’ the value of family ties and close relationships. But each of us has been given different circumstances and personalities from which we journey into life, and we need each other to learn and grow. I love watching and learning from those who ‘get’ something I don’t, and likewise, I feel called to help others grasp things I have learned. One of these lessons is the incredible value and God-inspired purposes for having a tight bond with our children.
Now you might be wondering why I have “how to make doughnuts” in my title and what that has to do with raising responsible children! My next post will include the doughnut recipe. Trust me! I’m getting somewhere – really!
Lessons Are Learned Every Day
Okay, so onto doughnuts. The week of our Holiday Craft Fair, while we were crazy busy preparing all our projects and setting up the store, one of our children mentioned having doughnuts the morning of the fair as a treat for all our hard work. You can imagine the consensus on that idea, and while we were all picturing finally being able to relax and enjoy a treat, my youngest daughter (12yo) said in complete innocence, “That sounds really good, but how will we have time to make them?”. Now to your ears, those few words may have nothing to do with responsibility, but to my tired and battle-worn ears, those few words meant so much! My smile widened and my joy could not be contained as I saw the innocence and reality of her comment.
Those few words gave me a glimpse into the mind of my child. They showed me that I have succeeded in raising a daughter who won’t take the easy road, who won’t succumb to the world’s materialism, who isn’t afraid of hard work and takes it in stride! She didn’t even consider buying the doughnuts! Children who know the value of developing skills are free from dependency on the world and all it’s trappings! Don’t get me wrong – we do know how to appreciate the treats that God gives us and the pleasures of modern conveniences. But – the real treat is being home with family while re-creating a delicacy or tool or treasure, without having to pay high prices or work overtime to afford them. That is true freedom!
So let me encourage you to build relationships with your children. Work alongside them in creating those things you could buy in a store. Teach them that hard work is fun. Make spending time together the norm. Show them they don’t have to be dependent on others to enjoy the good things in life.
Home is truly where the heart is. As you work together, and create together, you’ll find that you have your children’s hearts – the world and it’s ‘treasures’ won’t steal them away. And having a child’s heart is the best lesson in finding God’s design for parenting.
Train a child up in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6