I believe most parents dream of their children doing great things. It is such a delight to see the miracle of development unfold before our eyes throughout childhood. They often surprise us with clear insight that is more mature than their years. Their desire to grow up and help and do real things is touching.
But children are . . . children. One minute they are little adults with big thoughts and the next they are transported back to an inward focus, a selfishness that comes from being human. They don’t yet have a mastery of their impulses. They don’t have the experience or the wisdom to always make good choices.
Yet, through the ebb and flow of maturity and then selfishness, our kids are developing habits of the heart. It is important to walk with them through these confusing years and help grow the right habits and build a character that will stand them in good stead throughout adulthood.
I believe that a fundamental aspect of character is trained by helping them recognize that caring starts at home. We do them a great disservice by struggling ourselves with all the boring activities like house cleaning, meals, laundry so that they can be pursuing extracurricular activities in the limelight with no thought of the needs of their family. Certainly, there are times when parents pick up the slack, but it shouldn’t be a routine pattern. We need to find that delicate balance of helping them grow into their potential while, at the same time, nurturing a considerate soul.
Our kids can truly do great things when they mature to the point of having compassion for those closest to them as well as being sensitive to the needs of the outside world.
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