I wonder if you have given much thought to what you want your children to be like when they are older. Have you considered the values that are important to you that you would like them to take on, have you thought through what you want your family to look like in 10 years. It’s very easy to amble through life, taking each day as it comes and responding to our children’s needs one day at a time, but unless we consider what we want them to be like, or act like, or what’s important to our family, it’s very unlikely we’ll see these things happening automatically.
Have you ever heard quotes like ‘you get out what you put in’ or as the Bible says ‘you reap what you sow’, the things that we invest in our children now, are the things that will flourish in the future.
For whatever a man sows, this he will also reap
I’m not just talking about the everyday things such as teaching them table manners, or to say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’, I’m talking about what I actually want my son to be like when he is older. Will he be sure of himself, will he be fearless, will he chivalrous, will he know the Bible, will he have a relationship with God, will he be strong but gentle, confident but sensitive to others’ needs? When he is a teenager will he value family time together, or will he sit there on his iPhone browsing through Facebook. Will he help me with chores around the house or will he just assume mum will do it all because I’ve never taught him any different. Because unless we start to teach him these things now, it will be so much harder to instill these values at a later date.
Or what does he see around the home? Does he see his mummy sat on her iPhone when he’s trying to get my attention? Does he see me listening to and respecting his Daddy, or not? Does he see a Daddy who is loving towards his Mummy? Because one thing that we can be sure of, whatever he sees at home now, sets a bar for his expectations of what he thinks is normal behaviour for the future. I’m not saying we will always turn out like our parents, but I think we can often easily take on some of the values of our parents without even realising it, and I want these values to be good ones. If I don’t want Jonas to be looking at his phone and half listening to me when he’s a teenager, I better not be showing him this now!
Let me give you an example, I’m sorry to disappoint all those animal lovers but I’m really not a dog person. Having been chased by one when I was a child there is something in me that almost automatically gets nervous when I see a dog running towards me. But I was determined that Jonas would not pick up on this fear in me. Since he was born whenever we have been out and seen a dog I have purposefully gone out of my way to be enthusiastic around dogs and encourage him to look at them or stroke them when he’s allowed. Well, now my son loves dogs. To be honest with his enthusiasm for them he could probably scare off most dogs. But one thing he’s not is scared of them.
Having worked previously managing large fundraising projects with huge income targets, it would have been completely irresponsible to set out on such large tasks without first looking at the vision, or aim of the project, and working out carefully and specifically how to achieve it. Without knowing what the vision is, and monitoring the success along the way, it would be highly unlikely I would have achieved it. It’s the same with raising our children. We need to be purposeful. Is our aim just to raise children that eventually fly the nest, or is it that we raise healthy, happy children who also act in a way that is important, and value things that are of value to us.
So, what are you investing in your children? What is important to you that fast forward 15 years you would like them to be portraying? Think about it, because if you don’t know it, you can’t sow it and if you don’t sow it, you won’t reap it!