Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Instilling Initiative In Our Children

Article by Michael Pearl
A question we are often asked is, "How do we teach our children to be industrious/assume responsibility/do their duty/be independent/have initiative, etc.?" Having successfully gone through this phase in raising our children, the question that is of more concern to me is this: how do we bring parents to the place where they see the need to instill these qualities in their children?

Most parents take too much for granted. I have known several people who purchased a new lawn mower or generator and, assuming it was ready to run, cranked it up and promptly burnt it up, not knowing that it came without oil in the crank case. We assume too much. But it is one thing to lose a Briggs and Stratton engine. It is a much more tragic thing to lose your son to a state of lethargic dependence or to an attitude of unthankful entitlement.

Very few of us were trained to be parents. When we were young and being parented we were oblivious to the notion that the process was even taking place, so we never considered noting the technique. Then when we got to be parents we just assumed that the process is somehow automatic—you love them, feed them, keep them clean and healthy, teach them right from wrong, take them to church, and they will automatically grow up to be normal and well adjusted just like we are. After all, our parents didn't do anything special. Or did they?

In the past, when society and schools were more conservative and disciplined, the less proactive approach to child training had a much better chance of yielding positive results, but today the default position is geared to produce 20-year-olds still sitting in the basement in their underwear behind a computer screen surfing the web, social-less networking, or playing a sexy, violent video game. Not as bad but equally disturbing is the 20-year-old going to college on his parents' dime, living his weekends in endless parties and fleshly indulgence while getting three months worth of useful education out of four expensive years of idleness. (Read more)

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