Raising children in our modern culture is a very difficult task! It can be done by one parent, but it’s really a two person job. And it is fraught with all kinds of challenges. A few of those “challenges” caught my eye last week.
Parents in Florida recently struggled with whether or not it is safe to have gator pool parties for their young children. It seems that alligators less than 4 feet long were being dropped into back yard pools so kids could hold and be photographed them. (For the record, the wildlife commission called it a dumb thing to do!)
The company behind the Visa credit card recently launched an app for the iPhone and iPad that helps parents calculate how much the Tooth Fairy should bring a toothless child. Apparently tooth inflation is very common among elementary schools. (For the record, one consultant expressed some concerns that these calculations would initiate a “psychological bidding game.” I am thinking it is another dumb thing to do!)
And then there was the survey that identified which US cities were the worst offenders at spoiling children. The study said that the average middle-income family will spend about $12,000 on their baby during their first year. That survey went on to say that by the time our kids are 18; we should plan on spending about a half a million dollars on them. Based on purchasing patterns, parents in New York City spoil their kids the most with Miami and Dallas not too far behind. (I am thinking it may be a bit dumb to spend $3500 on a crib when a dresser drawer will do nicely!)
Bottom line, it is tough to raise children today. The injunction specifically addressed to fathers in Ephesians 6:4 tells parents to bring their children up in “the training and instruction of the Lord.” Those two words are interesting. “Training” is a strong word that implies correction and chastisement as part of the strict upbringing. And “instruction” is a milder term that highlights the need for verbal encouragement.
Maybe this week it would be a good time to adjust our efforts as parents. Instead of focusing on silly parties and inappropriate spending we ought to focus our attention on the difficult but so necessary effort of “training in righteousness.” Our kids need the reproofs, the corrections, the advice and the tons of encouragement in order to grow up with balanced perspectives and a Biblical world view.
Let’s all agree that the job is tough. But skip the gators and stay focused on the important stuff!
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel