Raising Responsible Kids

(Continued from previous blog “Jesus Restores Me“) As parents, we deeply desire our kids to grow to be responsible. Yet, many young men and women remain irresponsible instead. What will best equip them for their adult lives? What should we teach our children to be responsible for?  It goes without saying that our kids should learn to be kind and respectful to others. They need to learn to wait their turn and not interrupt, to listen and to be mindful of the needs of others. In other words, they must learn to live by the golden rule! Plus, it goes without saying that, as parents, our greatest work is prayer.  Prayer must be our daily agenda, in order to keep our focus on what’s most important.  But what are those practical responsibilities that our kids need to grow in that will equip them for their lives as adults? What is it that our kids need to become most responsible for before they leave our homes?   As parents, we are responsible to equip our kids to walk responsibility into the adult world. Our kids are responsible for learning and maturing, which comes by way of what they can control:  their effort, their attitudes, and their choices.  The outcomes, however, are in God’s hands. It’s tempting to focus heavily on the outcomes we want to see happen – like grades, tests, career choices, and college admissions.  Doing so increases anxiety because the focus goes onto things our kids can’t wholly control.  Putting the focus on what can’t be controlled (like these outcomes, or even the behavior of others), is burdensome and...

Jesus Restores Me

“What does the word restore mean?” I asked my four grandchildren who were memorizing the 23rd Psalm over lunch. It’s like making something new again,” they concluded. “What does it mean to restore my soul?” I questioned further, “And what is your soul anyway?” “It’s who I am. It’s my personality,” Haddie exclaimed. “It’s me inside,” Joey added, pointing at his chest. “Yup,” agreed Kate, “that’s what it means.” Meanwhile, four-year-old Will sat quietly listening to the discussion with a smug look on his face. “What do you think soul means?” I asked him. Pulling his foot up as high as he could, he proudly exclaimed, “it’s the bottom of your shoe!” I wondered what he had been thinking about the phrase “he restores my soul” and suddenly I saw a connection. Yes, Jesus restores my soul. But He also restores my soles. In Deuteronomy 29: 5, we read that “Yet the LORD says, ‘During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.’ ” He sustained the Israelites through their entire wilderness experience. And he will do the same for us. I believe the Bible promise that “His yoke is easy and His burden is light” and I am trying to make this my daily perspective. For a driven person who is prone to being overly responsible, life becomes too heavy without this life-giving view. Therefore, then I begin to feel burdened and overwhelmed, I am learning to pause and examine what it really is that concerns me. What am I carrying in my heart...

Learning to Be Responsible

Personal responsibility is neither caught nor taught.   Rather, it must be learned.  Being responsible is the opposite of being entitled.  Kids tend to consider responsibility solely in terms of “doing what they are told to do”.  I enjoy listening to my grandchildren, the oldest being four- year- old Josiah pictured below.  Just yesterday, I asked Josiah, who is often told to be responsible, what the word meant.  He said, “It means that I have to be quiet”.  (Josiah chats loudly to anyone who will listen all day long)  One day last week, when he was being particularly naughty, I asked him the same question to which he replied, “It means I have to obey”. What does responsible really mean? To be wholly responsible means far more than merely submitting to authority and doing what’s been asked. Truly responsible people own the condition of their attitudes, thoughts, and feelings. Truly responsible people solve the problems they create.  Truly responsible people are accountable for their choices and decisions and understand that success comes by way of effort and hard work. Irresponsible individuals, on the other hand, see life as merely happening to them.  Since they cannot make life happen for themselves, they come to believe things should be done for them. They are victims who feel they have no choice. Last week I shopped at JCPenney’s.  Standing in line behind a clearly distraught woman, I heard the clerk ask the familiar question, “Did you find everything you needed today?”  The lady sadly replied, “I shopped for hours and no one helped me find clothes that looked good on me. Everything I...

THE LAST STRAW

Wednesday was one of THOSE DAYS. The State of the School Address had gone late the night before.  I had put a great deal of effort into preparing an address on the topic of “testing points” – those challenges that come our way and test our resolve, revealing our character.  I was pleased that parents had received it well. Tired, with a long “to do” list, I brought up my Google calendar around mid-morning, and breathed a sigh of relief – the morning had started out hectic, but the rest of the day was relatively empty. I had just retreated into the office for a peaceful few hours of work when “the last straw” fell. Erin, my daughter, was on the phone, frantically screaming that water was gushing out of the wall, filling our garage at home.   She could not get a hold of her dad or husband, who would have known how to shut the water down.  I however felt helpless knowing that boxes of her newly purchased furniture still stood in our flooding garage.  (If you have read previous blogs, you may remember that our garage was flooded by broken pipes just a few weeks ago during the cold Texas freeze!) I was bewildered. How could pipes have broken so quickly again and this time in 60 degree weather?  Feeling helpless and frustrated and terribly inconvenienced, I headed home but definitely not with a good attitude or peaceful mindset! I was angry at yet another issue at our home and was tempted to cast blame at someone – anyone. Our school’s athletic director, Joe, offered to come...