Push your children; push them hard.
I was reading in a book the other day about how to raise children based on their internal natures called, “Nurture The Nature: Understanding and Supporting Your Child’s Unique Core Personality” by Michael Gurian. In this book Gurian recalls thoughts from an older gentleman who shared his fondness for the way things used to be.
He remembered that as a kid he and his friends would go out and play football in the open fields near their house. There were no refs, no parents and no one to tell them how to play. They just played football. If there was a foul, they worked it out. If someone got hurt, everyone took care of him. This sort of independence helped to create a culture of maturity that is not often seen in our children today.
Take the same analogy of the modern football leagues that kids play in. The kids show up, the coaches direct their play and they are told what to do and how to do it.
Now I do not have anything against organized sports, but the argument here is a valid one. Most of the children that play in these teams do not go on to be professional athletes, right? So what is the purpose of playing the game? While they learn some degree of social development, there is also something lost on how to make tough decisions and work with others because the adults, not the children, are making all the tough calls. The desire to win and best the best has superseded the benefits of anger management, crisis development, maturity and independence.
What motivates us to be the very best us that God created us to become? Where is the drive for the human spirit to become something greater each and every day?
In God’s word Solomon writes:
It is good for workers to have an appetite; an empty stomach drives them on. Proverbs 16:26
Sometimes it is good for us to let our children suffer through things, and for us to choose not to do it all for them. They will not die from a little independence. Shoot, they will not die from A LOT of independence. And they just might move out of the house at a reasonable age!
Here’s a few key questions to think through as you seek to motivate your children toward greatness:
What boundaries do you need to set to help move your children down the field for their own benefit?
What is something that you have been doing for them that it is far time they do on their own?
And as Solomon said, what can you take away from your children to “drive them on?”
Looking for more parenting resources? You can find more Parenting With Purpose posts on my wife’s blog, The Mosaic Life.