In this post we will continue to look at some real world statistics on parents who have raised Spiritual Champions. By this, I mean children who are now adults and display the Legacy Character Traits and consider themselves active, saved Christians who are still working on spiritual growth as young adults or parents themselves.
Traits of Parents Who Have Raised Spiritual Champions: Part 2
7. Focus on Godly Character
Rarely in the parenting research I look at do you find something that is 100% across the board agreed on by parents, however, focusing on Godly character and character traits was the number one priority of parents who raised spiritual champions.
Modern day schools focuses almost exclusively on honing skills and grasping and applying information and little to no time on character development, it is assumed by parents and educators alike that it will somehow manifest in the process. This failure to plan is a great plan to fail.
Many older generations complain about this lack of character traits in today's youth constantly. Enron, The Current Housing Collapse, Divorce, Domestic Violence and Most Crimes are all a result of character issues.
Parents of spiritual champions taught their children that their focus was on adding value to society rather than taking or expecting something from society.
The focused on teaching their children to help others rather than compete or outperform others.
And that the type of person you are is more important than what you accomplish or what you have.
For a moment, contrast these three areas with today's mainstream adults. A majority of today's adults focus on the exact opposite of these traits.
One mother of a spiritual champion stated this
"I never yelled at my son for grades or missed goals on the soccer field but if he ever mistreats someone...we had a long talk usually followed by some corrective action. I rather have an honest, caring child than a smart child."
8. Parental Focus
Parenting is a huge, life changing event. My wife and I have studied friends in the past few years and sometimes have a great laugh. We thought that older, maturer parents or parents who were more financially prepared for children would perform better than when we first had kids (young, broke, clueless.) However, we have learned that no matter how prepared you are, nothing is better than experience and trial and error.
Some parents follow a mainstream philosophy that when they have kids, they will continue to progress in their careers, hobbies and social life and just add kids to the mix. They give their kids general guidelines and hope that the kids will figure it out or that the schools, babysitters or church will pick up where they cannot. They outsource a good deal of their parenting roles to follow their own personal goals.
Successful parents follow a philosophy that parenting is their number one priority. Sacrifices will need to be made in all areas of their lives. Specific long term and strategic goals need to be established in parenting and then a game plan to reach these goals. These parents are totally hands on and have a specific set of expectations and outcomes they wish to achieve in parenting and this takes precedence over their careers and social endeavors.
Successful parents also learn that parenting is not a popularity contest. Many times successful parents will not relate with other parents, they will be talked about or gossiped about in the PTA or other parental circles. Many other parents will not share their beliefs or parental goals and will be seen as extreme or even be envied and further ridiculed by other parents.
The goal of successful parents is simply to instill Godly morals, beliefs and character in their children and raise spiritual champions. They are not interested in being voted most popular mom or head of the parent sports committee.
9. A Stable-Consistent Home
Security is such a huge trait when raising children and our kids can see it and sense it more than we think.
I believe security is instilled by consistency, rules, expectations and predictability.
If you asked my children what happens every night at our house at 8:30, you would get this response:
Children in bed
Mom and Dad are having couch time
My wife befriended a woman with two kids about 8 months ago and two weeks into the relationship, my wife got a frantic call from the woman asking my wife to come over to her house. My wife and kids went to her house and saw a moving truck outside with the woman and some people loading the truck. My wife found her friend and saw a fresh bruise on her face and did not ask questions. The woman was loading up and heading to her parents house, a few thousand miles away and taking the kids with her.
My wife and kids helped her load the truck and when she left, my daughter asked my wife questions about divorce. After a discussion on divorce, my daughter hugged my wife. My wife asked what the hug was for and my daughter replied that she is glad that her and daddy spend time together everyday and would never get a divorce.
My daughter has since heard friends and kids at school talk about how hard a divorce is and she frequently takes comfort in knowing she will never have to face this problem. My daughters reality from our couch time and how my wife and I treat each other daily is that we would never divorce.
There are many factors that lead to a stable home but parents of spiritual champions noted these factors the highest.
1. Family Rules and Laws - Fair, Firm and Consistent.
There are family rules and expectations and failure to meet these expectations or follow these rules leads to discipline and consequences. Setting boundaries and ensuring respect was the two most noted.
2. Enforcing A Curfew
Consistent bed times and specific times to be at home for tweens and teens.
Few parents had curfews lasting later than 11:00PM even for older teens.
Successful parents cautiously and subtly influenced who their children befriended. We have never told our children who they can or cannot be friends with, but because of our standards and rules, the cream rises and friends who did not adhere to our rules or values, quickly leave the scene.
We ask questions about their friends behaviors and usually assess the parents early in the relationship. You can learn a lot about kids by watching the parents.
Also, personally know your children's friends. Kids in our house see our example, our families values and beliefs and it rubs off on some. At one time, we were taking 5 other neighborhood kids to church with us on Sundays. Kids are great evangelists.
4. Limit Media Content
The average American child is engaged in 40 hours of media intake per week. Parents need to set time limits and filter the content. At our house, MTV or any other channel with similar content is blocked on the cable. Disney or Nickelodeon is the main channel on our TV. Internet use is strictly monitored and filtered using parental controls.
I never knew what a huge factor this played in parenting until last year. One of the neighborhood kids was having a casual conversation with my son and he was describing in detail some of his favorite horror movies his parents let him watch. Saw, Hostel and My Bloody Valentine were his favorites. Another son of a co-worker described to my son a viral porn movie that was being circulated and how he found it on Youtube. These were 9-11 year olds.
Parents not limiting media content when we were kids was a huge parenting weakness expressed by adults today (Gen X and Y)
5. Spend Time Daily
We have to spend fully engaged time with our children everyday. "Quality time" on the weekends is not enough. Our aim should be to spend at least one hour per day of fully engaged time with each child. Once this time becomes frequent and consistent, children will begin to let you into their inner world and share their most intimate secrets with you. This is also where you can have the most life changing discussions and moments with your children.
According to the Barna Group, older teens and twenty something's said that the top two failures of their parents were this:
1. Not Enough Discipline - Firm Consistent Rules
2. Failure to spend enough time with their children. Children felt their parents focus was else where.
In the final post of Christianity 2009, I will discuss a topic that is interwoven into all the posts and into success or failure as a parent.