Start With The End In Mind is a phrase that I have said and written about multiple times. I have looked at people traveling on vacation at the airport and never have they shown up at the airport with their bags in hand just to ask for tickets to SOMEWHERE! They know exactly where they want to go, the final destination is in mind even before they leave.
We as parents need to do the same things with our children when it comes to parenting. Too many parents have the goal of surviving until the kids are out of the house and hope that the kids turn out alright. Bad way to parent if you ask me, bad way to parent even if you don't ask me. You see your children are kids, they may or may not know what's best for themselves and they need guidance. If you started a new job you would want someone to train you, to walk beside you, to give you guidance until one day you were ready to do it on your own. Our students and children deserve the same things in their lives especially when it comes to learning how to be independent at the appropriate time. Let's face it there are some things that your kids aren't ready for yet but they will in time be ready.
I wish that there was that mythical parent book that was given to us when our children are born in the hospital but there isn't. "The are mind sets, strategies, and approaches that work in some circumstances" when it comes to answers on how to raise our kids. "There are standards that should not be violated, principles that should not be given up, and Biblical mandates that should not be forgotten."
You see in our culture I do believe "that pain isn't always a bad thing, that kids are overly entitled and demanding, and that too many parents are enabling their children to continue their foolish (and childish self-centered) thinking. This generation of parents has spoiled our kids rotten, given them too much, and not expected enough in return. This generation of parents has created a generation of immature kids who would rather act childishly that ever grow up (think Peter Pan here), be given things rather than work for them, and have all the privileges of adulthood without accepting the responsibilities to go with it."
Last night I was watching a television show where the divorced mom was to pick up her daughter and her friends to take them somewhere. In the program the working mom was late to pick them up. Once she got there the daughter was upset because she had to wait. When mom got out of the car she was told that she was late and then she, and her friends, dropped their bags infront of the car and got into their seats. The mother then picked up the bags and put them in the trunk for them. REALLY? You see the mom didn't take the moment to teach the children that she was not their private butler. She missed the opportunity to teach about respect, attitude, and being a servant to your friends; not honoring your mother as scripture teaches. (I know it's a television show and written that way!) When I saw this happen I looked at my wife and said, "I don't think so! You want your bags in the car, you'd better get out and pick them up or I am leaving with out them!
While this may sound harsh, it is not my intent but I do want us to wake up as parents. There are many parents that have a done a great job as Christian parents building relationships with their children at a deeper level than they had themselves with their parents. Many parents have attempted to build and ground deep spiritual truths into their children and ownership of their faith; this is wonderful as well.
Every parent will have hard times and difficulties with their 'perfect' good children but prayerfully it is only a bump in the road. Just know that when you hit those "bumps in the road that God will take you through it and what you will have on the other side of it is a deeper relationship with your child; and as a Christian, your relationship with Christ will be deeper because of it as well."
Parent if you are a parent of a teen, know that you will have plenty of times to build and deepen your relationships. You will have times to mold your child. There will be times when your child will 'hate' you, dislike you, be angry with you, and give you a silent treatment, etc., etc., etc. but that's normal.
Decide early your standards and what you want your child to become once they leave your home and are 'adults' or have children of their own. In other words, it is my prayer that you will Start With The End In Mind!