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Do you feel that a successful child needs to grow up with the values that you teach them? Last weekend, my 15 year old son was confirmed into the Lutheran church. After 4 years of confirmation classes, he was thrilled to finally be able to stand up in front of the congregation and make a commitment to God and the church. Really, he was most thrilled that he no longer had to attend confirmation classes. We aren’t the most ‘devout’ Christians but this was something I really and truly wanted for him and thankfully he felt the same way. Others in his confirmation class chose NOT to get confirmed…and those particular teens have parents who are WAY more faithful followers than I am. Their parents were truly heartbroken over their children’s decision to not join the church. It got me to thinking about the divide between what we teach our children and what they choose to believe.
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What makes parenting a success?
When our children are first born, we immediately begin teaching them things. At first, those things are all basic skills…how to place blocks in a bucket, how to walk, how to climb stairs without tumbling head over heels and hurting themselves.
We teach them to feed themselves, sing songs, and clap their hands. Young children thrive in a family where their parents are teaching them things.
Learning is fun. Sometimes.
When our children reach school age, they begin to realize that there are things they will need to learn that they may not really like. Sure, you can make learning fun for a while but eventually math and writing games are going to lose their excitement.
And that is just too damn bad, kids, because you have to learn math and writing whether you like it or not.
Sometimes, kids develop a passion for something and will eagerly begin learning about it on their own. Maybe your kid is passionate about trains or bugs or origami. They begin to realize that some learning can be fun. YAY for inquisitive kids, right?
Inquisitive children will ask questions
But that same inquisitive nature will eventually start having your children question the very things you want to teach them. Big concepts like religion, politics, environmental concerns, acceptance of people who fall outside the ‘social norm’.
There are so many things we teach our children as they grow up besides their colors, number and shapes. Young children do not question adults when they are being taught basic life skills and rudimentary facts. Not many kids will say ‘No, mom, I don’t think 1 plus 1 really equals 2’.
Signs of maturity
Maybe questioning what we teach them is a sign of maturity. There is a particular point in their psychological growth that they stop taking every single thing we say at face value.
Some kids begin this transition earlier than others. And maybe some people go along their whole lives believing everything people tell them. That isn’t a particularly good way to live, though.
Gullible adults are often sucked into situations that are incredibly unhealthy. So having your children question your teachings is actually a GOOD thing in the long run, right? A successful child will question everything!
All we can do is keep our fingers crossed that the really vital life lessons stick. And as parents, maybe we need to learn to accept that our personal values and beliefs will not be those that our children choose to accept.
I may be raising a republican who could care less about the environment….please GOD, say it isn’t so!
I wear many hats in this thing called life. I am a science geek, an introvert, a busy mother of teens and slightly neurotic about dirty dishes. I used to have a really important sounding job in cancer research when I decided to give it all up to be a stay at home mom. I played with Playdough, colored pictures of Barbies and freaked out when the baby ate dog food. Then the second kid came along and I started to think dog food might have nutritional value. What is Fractionated Living? It is me…divided by work, life, kids, marriage, and hobbies and trying to come up with the answer to life.