It is my belief that each of us is individually and purposefully equipped to handle the life we are given and the children we are raising. God knew us in our mother’s womb and gave us exactly what we would need to handle today. Pretty amazing!
It took me a few years into my parenting experiment to understand that He had equipped me, that he had given me a specific tool kit to do my job. On those days when I didn’t feel smart enough to homeschool my kids or strong enough to continue in an active parenting role, I was basically denying that I had been uniquely prepared to raise the children He gave me.
Over the course of time, I saw that my skills were what my children needed to be successful in life. Those things that were important to me needed to be passed on.
This isn’t a new concept. In fact, just a few generations ago the word “teenager” did not exist and kids were treated as young adults with important work to do and a set of skills that needed to be mastered.
Today; however, there is often a huge disconnect in most homes between “parenty things” and “kid things.” Adults exist in one world – working at a job, taking care of home maintenance, dealing with finances, interacting with friends, involvement in community, and participation in church. Kids live in a completely different world – working at school, hanging with friends, playing video games, and asking for money.
When I became a parent, I wasn’t interested in the new model. I went back to the old one. I decided to live life with my kids in an interconnected way. That choice had many facets, one of which involved looking at my expertise it a new way. First there were the things that were innately a part of me – gifts and talents. Then there were skills acquired through years of living – social skills, work skills, organizational skills. I decided to systematically teach those things to my kids.
Every day was a training ground to learn something new! I expected steady improvement and would design situations for my children to practice what they were learning. My kids were very different from each other and some things that were easy for one were extremely difficult for the other. So, we just practiced until they mastered the skill at hand. By the time my children left home, they had acquired my skill sets as well as developing many others of their own.
Was it easy? No! Was it efficient? Not at first. It was often messy. It frequently took much longer than if I had done the task myself. It was sometimes frustrating. But in the end, I tripled my productivity because I could hand my kids any job (business, home, volunteer work) and it was done quickly and to my expectations.
Now, I’m not saying that I raised two carbon copies of myself. Far from it! But hindsight has shown me that the skills I had that I passed on to my children were critical for their development as well as for their success.
My question for you today is, “What is in your parenting tool kit?” And, more importantly, “What are you going to do about it?”