“By 1984, the California legislature had created an official self-esteem task force, believing that improving citizens’ self-esteem would do everything from lower dependence on welfare to decrease teen pregnancy. Such arguments turned self-esteem into an unstoppable train, particularly when it came to children. Anything potentially damaging to kids’ self-esteem was axed. Competitions were frowned upon. Soccer coaches stopped counting goals and handed out trophies to everyone. Teachers threw out their red pencils. Criticism was replaced with ubiquitous, even undeserved, praise. (There’s even a school district in Massachusetts that has kids in gym class ‘jumping rope’ without a rope–lest they suffer the embarrassment of tripping).”
The preceding paragraph was taken from a new book by Po Bronson called NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children.
What are we doing to our kids? Are we preparing them for the future? Are we building their character? Are we giving them tools that will adapt to the uncertainty of the future that they may face?
Imagine the kid that learns to jump rope without a rope. What happens when he transfers to a new school in a new district? Is he prepared for what he will face?
What about the classrooms that do not use red pens? Or mark things wrong? What happens to that kid when he graduates and gets a job? Will he be expected to do real work or can he just “go to work” without working? Maybe his boss will be one of his classmates and he can pay him without real money. Wouldn’t that be great?
But we can’t blame it on the schools, can we? God just won’t let us do that. He gives the responsibility of raising children to parents–to us. We are challenged by the ancient and tested wisdom of the Bible to direct our children, to train our children, to discipline our children. We are also instructed to encourage our children (without flattery), to nurture our children, and to guide them in God’s ways.
Is it possible for us to direct our children without commanding? or train them without correcting? or discipline them without pain? Can we encourage them without words and nurture them without hugs and guide them without leading?
Let me be clear. You may not have everything you need to be the perfect parent. None of us do. BUT YOU HAVE ENOUGH. You have more life experience than your kids do. You have more wisdom than they do. You have more ability to see ahead than they do.
YOU HAVE ENOUGH! Use what you have! Use what God has given you. You will fail sometimes; you will stumble. That is how we learn.
If we think we can parent without commanding, or correcting, or disciplining, or conversing, or hugging, or leading, we may be just “jumping rope” without a rope.
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