What Are We Training Our Children to Become?

Most people who are familiar with the Bible know about the scripture that reads, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it," Proverbs 22:6, according to the English Standard Version of the Bible on  But are we really training children and what exactly are we training them for or are we mere servants to our children with them training us? 

We usher our children here and there, cook, clean, and admonish them sometimes.  Often inconsistent in our discipline on one issue or another, we find ourselves a nervous wreck at times trying to teach a child this new thing or that one most likely over and over again.  "Bring the dish into the kitchen, don't leave it there...I told you I wanted you to bring the laundry here and then separate the clothes like this...You don't leave your shoes there, you put them here..."  The instructions are given, but at times fall on deaf ears.  So what is the consequence? Another long speech, something gets taken away, or one is shamed in front of others?

I thought of this wise Proverb about training a child yet again (see my other blog entries about parenting children) when I looked at the way I was raised as well as others and compared those that were considered privileged children (having all basic needs met and many things that underprivileged children didn't have like two parents living under the same roof for starters) to those that were not-so fortunate. What I noticed was that the privileged children were practically running their own worlds.  Parents were usually doing whatever was asked of them while children didn't do what parents asked of them without a gripe. Some of these parents found the time to buy their children just one more thing they wanted while things like homework and other school activities were considered important depending on who you asked. 

I was guilty as charged, being that I was gone from my children for a time, when it came to giving them things they really didn't need.  It is always an adjustment to get my sons back on track with me since I am the least favorite parent because I expose the little games they like to play with the other parent. 

The underpriviledged children (those that had grown up with less as compared to others,) were often grateful to get what little they got, at times appeared polite and respectful.  While those that had much, seem to be disrespectful and spoiled when interacting with others--mainly parents.  So I began to ponder, what are we training our children to become?

So I thought about the things my own sons have and didn't have.  I thought about what I could do to improve their atmospheres, their bodies, minds, and spiritual selves.  I asked them what their needs and wants were.  And when it was all said and done, they needed nothing.  They had the educational items as well as the entertaining ones to help them mentally and physically.  They had tools to create, perform, build, etc.  They had more than enough items to help with basic needs like food, clothing and shelter.  These boys had need of nothing!  Then I took what I learned and thought about their future since their present was covered.

As long as we are proactive in our children's lives and teach them how to be better people than we, then I can say confidently that we have done the best we can.  We must consider that there are three parts to us human beings--mind, body and spirit.  What can we do to improve all three besides giving our children things while continuing to look back on a past that we may have lacked this thing and that one with our own parents?  Can we, as parents, bring conversation, affection, consequence to rebellious behaviors, respect, praise, love, etc. to our children daily?  And what might be the end result to all this training, a child that grows up to be a man or woman who might share what he or she has learned from us (good, bad and otherwise) to others like we did after leaving our parents.  Maybe a son or daughter might learn to be more generous when we think he or she is being selfish.  Maybe this young person will turn out to be extraordinary and do great things for humanity.  Of course, there are the alternatives if we, society and/or they don't get it right.  But whatever our children become, we must remember to train these children above everything else!  Train, train and train some more!  When is the last time you sat down and read the Bible?  When was the last time you shared a life lesson with your child?  When was the last time you told them what to do and how to do it?  When was the last time you checked in to find out if he or she has the basic skills in order to survive in this doggy dog world?

If we want children to be more this or that, we must be willing to change the way we are training them.  We must put aside our bias persepctives and defensive mentalities when a wise person calls us out on what we are and aren't doing when it comes to raising our children. 

We can see when training needs to be done at a job and dealing with fellow employees, so why can't we see this when dealing with our children?  If your current training isn't producing the results you want, change it!  Cultivate an atmosphere that goes along with your new system of parenting.  You desire a bright child?  Then put more books and educational programs in front of them complete with your presence, your training and your wisdom.  You want a child to be more focused?  Then take away all the unimportant things that are distracting him or her. 

The more you expect from your child, the more you will need to be present in his or her life.  A child can't raise his or herself--that's why they need us!  Successful children are not born over night, they need to be trained.  So I challenge my readers, as well as myself, to do the kinds of things in our homes that will make children listen more, help out more, learn more, and so on. 

Whatever we want from our children, they will need more of us and less stuff.

Nicholl McGuire 

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media

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