It used to be that our very survival was in question. A hundred years ago when the average life
expectancy was around 40 years, parents had a lot of children as a means of
insuring their future when some inevitably died. Giving them food and shelter was all many
My how the times have changed. These days parents shower their children with
a cornucopia of gifts and opportunities, inadvertently undermining their
efforts to love them well.
We’ve raised our five children to adulthood now and like the
way they’ve turned out. We made a lot of
mistakes, but looking back we made a few key decisions that make a big
We wanted to teach them
gratitude, respect, and responsibility, so here’s what we did:
Gratitude: We insisted that they learn to say “thank
you” for virtually everything. We didn’t
allow them to say things like, “I don’t want that.”
Respect: Kids these days can be so
disrespectful. We tied many discipline
issues back to respect. Fighting with
siblings was huge – it showed a lack of respect for boundaries and personhood.
Responsibility: Chores were a given. If they wanted a pet, they bought the pet
food. We encouraged them to go on
mission trips and asked them to raise their own support.
Check out what two of my kids are doing right now: