Lately I’ve been noticing that too many parents are concerned about the wrong things when it comes to influencing and managing their children’s lives. For example…
I was recently welcoming a seven year-old to an overnight summer camp and was told by his parents that he wasn’t allowed to have cinnamon rolls for breakfast the next morning like the rest of the kids because he had to drink a GALLON of protein drink in order to be able to make weigh-ins for a wrestling match a few hours after that.
Now it’s all well and good for your kids to be involved in activities like this, but the message that winning at all costs is more important than having fun with your friends and being a normal kid who scarfs down an ooey-gooey cinnamon roll once in a while, isn’t the message we should be sending.
As parents we need to care more about who our kids are than what our kids are. Instead of micro-managing and obsessing over whether or not they win first place in the science fair or are one of the popular kids, we need to take a more active approach to helping shape their character. Instead of doing whatever it takes to make sure they make the cheerleading squad or first chair in band, we need to make sure they know being THE best isn't always important or possible and that they have the integrity to not bully their peers.
Parents, your job isn’t to raise great kids. Your job is to raise your kids to be great adults. And in case you are wondering, great adults aren’t defined by science fair projects and high school football scores. Great adults are those that are honest, compassionate, hard-working, wise with their finances, respectful of authority and the feelings of others, and confident of their abilities and self-worth.
Influencing and managing your children’s character is going to require you to be intentional and relational with your children. Most of all, it requires you to model these behaviors because even when your children don’t appear to be listening, or really aren’t listening, you can bet they are watching every move you make.
So…when deciding what matters and what doesn’t when it comes to where you focus your parenting energy, remember this: If the ‘thing’ you are stressing over isn’t going to directly affect their twenty-one year-old self or who they are from the inside out, you’re probably putting your eggs in the wrong basket.