It is my contention that we have cursed our children enough. We have cursed them with fatherless and motherless homes, abandonment and brokenness. They have been prey to our marketing machines for years. We have burdened them with imponderable choices. Our lifestyles have brought forward puberty, and the innocence of childhood is now gone in the blink of an eye.
Communally we are under the indictment of Matthew 18:6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. ” Jesus broadens the idea when he says in the next verse, “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! ” Our failure goes beyond children from Christian homes, to our society in general. We have failed our kids. We have failed them spiritually, physically, developmentally, psychologically … and the list goes on. This is evidenced by the symptoms: suicide, obesity, unwanted pregnancies, aggression, (some) learning difficulties … and that list continues as well.
For the last few generations we have failed to stop our children stumbling. In fact, we have placed obstacles before them which has prevented too many attaining well-rounded healthy lives.
It is time we blessed our children!
Wealth and unlimited choice hasn’t been the answer. Valueless education (i.e. education without values) hasn’t prevented the problem either. Where does the means for our blessing start? I would like to suggest some ideas, but I urge readers to add their views too.
- Blessing our children through our own examples: Adults need to show what gracious, trustworthy and well-disciplined lives look like. Where else will our children experience and learn this? Not off the internet or TV.
- It has been said often but I don’t think we have got the message yet, clear boundaries with clear consequences need to be in place. Nothing creates more uncertainty in a child than a lack of clear rules and expectations.
- Bless our children with clear values. I am a Christian and I firmly believe the gospel message is the foundation for a healthy life. I need to “walk the talk” if I am to bless my children with the gospel. However, even in a more general sense, values of respect, courtesy, honesty and others, all have a role in developing and maintaining a healthy society. In recent times we have rushed to add laws to coerce obedience because the power of our values has been diluted.
- Bless our children by limiting choices to the level of their maturity. Too many children grow up believing in their own wisdom because they have had an unbelievable number of choices from a very early age (more about this on an other occasion). Learning obedience is not going stifle their personality. It will instill self-discipline.
- Bless our children with healthy families. These families, if at all possible, need to be extended families – communities of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in which a child can learn to share, find a place and garner a treasure trove of memories. Where that is not possible find a community, such as a healthy church and/or neighbourhood where it can work.
- Also, bless our children by intentionally sowing memories and traditions into their lives that they will remember forever and may even pass onto their children. Our children need to know they are part of a lineage, a history and didn’t just appear alien-like out of the ether; their name has a past and in them, a future.
- Bless you children with life skills. Chores around the house is not unpaid slavery. They do two things. They remind children that they are a part of a family community which needs them and in which they have a role, and it also teaches them skills that they will need. Cooking, cleaning and budgeting seem to be important but vanishing skills.
How do you bless your children? How do you develop a foundation for a healthy life that can withstand the storms and tribulations that will come? I would love to hear your contributions.