Who’s Raising These Kids?

My mom used to work as a teacher’s aide in the school system in which I grew up.  That’s the closest that I ever came to being a teacher.  While I’ve had my fair share of teaching people, including children, I never earned my keep by being a teacher.  I work in the church though, and I’ve seen some similarities in how people approach both schools and churches when it relates to their children.

Maybe you’ve seen the cartoon with the two frames side by side.  One depicts 2 parents and their child.  The parents are yelling at the kid for not keeping his grades up.  The picture is supposed to have taken place about 50 years ago.  The second frame depicts a similar scenario except that there is a teacher in the picture and the parents are yelling at the teacher for their child’s grades.  My, how things have changed.parents-yelling-at-teachers1

I’ve seen a similar situation in the church as youth workers get scolded for the bad behavior of youth.  As I’ve heard stories from friends who are teachers and friends who are youth workers, it’s hard for me to put it all together and figure out how someone can feel justified to blame others for their own mistakes.

My oldest son will be in his 2nd year in public school this coming Fall.  I am realizing more than ever the need for me to teach him things at home.  I’ve not done a great job with it, but I’m trying.  I know that I can’t expect that his teachers will pick up the slack that I have left.  I can’t make excuses about having no time and then expect that someone else will do my job for me.  Teachers aren’t responsible for raising my children, they’re responsible for helping them get better and learn.  If I shirk my responsibility, will I blame the teachers?

At the same time, if I don’t instill values in my children that are important to me and my wife at home, why should I expect that they will be reinforced or encouraged by someone who gets paid to help with their discipleship?  If I don’t make things a priority, how can I expect that someone else who doesn’t spend near the amount of time with my children that I do should be responsible for showing them how to make certain things a priority.

This hurts me to write.  It’s not easy to admit that I haven’t done a great job with this.  There are things that have taken priority that need to fall back down towards the bottom of the pile.  There are things that need to be elevated that have somehow found their way to the cutting room floor.  If change can be made, now’s the time to make it.

My wife and I were married for 5 years before we had children.  We wanted to enjoy one another and get to know one another before we introduced kids to our lives.  That was the conviction that we had and I know that everyone has a different conviction.  The problem is, I’ve encountered too many people who think that they can “have their cake and eat it too.”  In other words, they want to have children and still pretend that they’re single, going out and letting others care for their children.

While I’m not advocating no social life for parents of young children, I am saying that the decision to have children is a decision to take on responsibility, not to give that responsibility away to someone else because you don’t have time for it.  We wonder why, especially in the church, there is such an exodus of young people after high school, yet we continue to expect others to instill values and ideas into our kids that we should have been instilling all along.

What’s important to you?  Do your kids know?  Have you shown them through your actions?  Are they on the list of what’s important?  How do you show them?

I don’t want to look back in 10 or 15 years and realize that I expected someone else to raise my children.  I don’t want to look back with regret and wonder as I try to figure out why my children are the way that they are, trying desperately to blame someone else, all the while realizing that they are who they are because of me.

Children are a gift, a gift that we have hopefully accepted and willingly received.  Some of us have actually had to fight to have our children.  They need to be treated like the gifts that they are, not pawned off to someone else to do the dirty work that we just can’t get around to.

Ouch!  Did you hear that?  I think it was the sound of me stepping on my own toes.


One thought on “Who’s Raising These Kids?

  1. Like most things do…this reminds me of lines from a song called Absalom, Absalom by a guy named Pierce Pettis:

    Absalom, Absalom My son, my son, my son Caught in the tangles of deceit Hanging lifeless from that tree Absalom, Absalom My son, my son, my son Caught in the tangles of your hair Fruit of my own sins to bear Oh Absalom Your were the laughing boy who danced upon my knee You learned to play the harp and use the shepherd’s sling Always watching, my impressionable son Oh, Absalom, what have I done? You were watching when I took a good man’s wife Gave the order for his murder just to cover up the crime All the vanity, cruel arrogance in me Oh Absalom, you learned it all from me

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