There is a myth that I often hear whenever I have conversations with others about children. Actually, there are a few myths. One is about “the terrible twos,” in which parents assume that children will automatically be horrible at toddler age. They don’t realize that it is a lie; their children are terrible not because of an age they’ve reached, but from lack of training.
Yet another myth comes out when I will talk to both strangers and friends alike; they will all repeat the common mantras. “Oh, just wait until they get older. They’ll be partying and getting girls pregnant, and they won’t listen to you,” “Wait until your daughter starts dating. You’re going to have to keep a real eye on her,” and other such nonsense spews out of their mouths. They are making assumptions based on what is the norm in general society. They think that if they “did all the right things” (in their own opinion) and their children turned out such a way, then of course nobody else could have children who grow up otherwise for the better. From guilt or lack of humility to admit failure, many think that because their children turned out unsatisfactory and did certain things, then automatically that means yours will too. Obviously they could not have failed at parenting, right? They let you know without hesitation that they “did the best they could.”
These same people will ask me things like, “What if your children grow up and want to go in another direction? What if they don’t want to live and be like you?” This is almost equivalent to my asking them, “What if your child wants to grow up and be a murderer, or a prostitute?” Should it not resonate in their minds that they can be confident their children won’t grow up to become prostitutes and killers because they raised them with some standard of decency and morality? I will argue that your children will turn out to be as good as your expectation level. And boy, does the Church need to raise the bar on its expectations for their children–big time.
Some parents have higher expectations than simply making sure their child doesn’t murder anyone. Some parents desire to have “good children”: children who don’t get in trouble at school and who don’t get into drugs and gangs. Other parents raise the bar a little more; they expect their children to not have sex until they are married. While this is a noble goal, the bar is still too low if that is your ultimate mark of achievement. So other Christians see this error and say they simply want to have “good Christian children” who love Jesus, go to church and read their Bible every day; and another group may want all of this, plus have their children be responsible and profitable citizens. I will contend that even in this instance, the bar is still being set much too low.
Your children can accomplish much more than you realize–almost anything you desire for them–as long as you put in the time and effort. Every day there are fathers who are dedicated to their children becoming great at sports. And great at sports they become, or at the least, very good. You can expect the same of your children in other life goal areas to a certain degree if you work for it.
Once upon a time in America our children were scholars, learning Latin and Greek at young ages. Although I am dead-set against public schools, it should be noted and understood that the average child with an 8th grade education 100 years ago was better educated than many college graduates today. Check out this 1954 8th grade exam from only 56 years ago. I am not sure if I know a college graduate who can answer most of the questions posted on that exam. In addition to this, such an 8th grader 100 years ago was certainly better and more prepared for real life and for being a responsible adult. One only has to look at today’s Amish to get a small glimpse of what your children could become, responsibility-wise.
But enough picking on lukewarm, half-hearted, “worldly” Christians from the typical American Church. How are our children turning out? Indeed Jesus warned us that “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48). How are we doing? Those of us who are illuminated to more truth than the majority, those of us who are almost the only hope of reversing the tide in America? As mentioned in a previous article, our goal needs to be a vision of multiple generations of godly heritage, not just our children. Do our children display the character of Christ, passionately love God’s law, and by application of scripture, engage in a lifestyle that glorifies God on the earth? If your children are young, are you preparing them toward this end? Or are you throwing them up into the wind, hoping that God will blow them in the right direction? Too many Christians have become fatalists, tempting the Lord their God by lazy parenting, and expecting God to cover up for their failures and lack of diligence. This ought not to be. We need to prepare our children for higher goals. We must establish a vision for them for the future.
We are hurting their character when we don’t push them to do more; we are breeding laziness into them. Even if one of our goals is raising a child of superb character, this is very important to devote oneself to. The character of the individual has a lot to do with what they will decide to do in life (they will learn to take on a challenge instead of taking the easy way by default). Their mind is programmed from youth, based on habit. Even if they have good intentions and even if they are doing “good things,” they could instead be doing much better things if they had been trained with the proper worldview and given better habits early on.
We are destroying their future potential when we don’t have our children do more. They will grow up being accustomed to not doing very much at all and always being satisfied with doing less. We need to teach them to be hungry for more. This goes along with the idea of dominion, and of gaining more liberty for ourselves in this nation; such as reversing bad homeschooling laws, instead of being satisfied that it is not “really bad.”
Caution: You do not need to shoot for goals too far over your head. Just raise the bar. Just like in weight lifting, you do a little bit at a time (weight increases) or you will hurt yourself; likewise with this situation, do a little bit at a time. Raise the bar for your children. Then your children will raise the bar a bit higher for their children. This is the way it is supposed to work, building upon the previous generation’s work.
Set yourself some goals and work at them. For example, we are working on becoming more independent. Being that I lack most of the necessary skills, I know that I’ll probably never reach having a full family farm, completely independent. But that is the high standard and goal I have set for my family. A little bit at a time, I reach for higher levels of achievement.
Health-wise, we started making all food from scratch, then we eventually moved on to a more natural diet, eliminating white flour, white sugar, etc. Now we are grinding our own wheat and buying even more organic things. We started our own garden, and eventually we hope to have our own chickens and goats. That is a start. If we can handle that, then maybe we’ll go a bit further. We know for sure we won’t try having cows and slaughtering our own meat. That is where we’d like to be, but it’s not a realistic goal at this stage of life.
Do not be discouraged if you cannot do everything at once. Start heading in that direction. Things will get easier throughout the years. You cannot do nothing just because your goals are not easily or immediately attainable. Don’t quit because you can’t get there right away. Don’t quit because your children will not be exactly what you’d like them to be. It may take a few generations to get there. We can’t fall into the trap of our “I want it now” culture. Previous generations long understood that some things take a lot of patience, and that they might not even see their goals reached in their lifetime.
Remember that God renamed Abram to be “father of a multitude” (Abraham) even though that multitude was not received until a few generations past him. God may also raise up a multitude of dominion-oriented Christians through your seed. You, like Abraham, just have to believe God through obedience. We need to have faith in God and raise the bar; it is incumbent to have higher goals and higher expectations for your children. We cannot afford to remain stagnant; we must press on if we are going to see our heritage preserved–before it is too late.