Recently, I have come face to face with some rather difficult, irritating, aspects of my personality. I won't go into too many details, but I'm really trying to change them because I know that my emotions aren't logical. And they really aren't very Christ-Like. But it is NOT easy!
So, this has caused me to really think hard about how to raise my children in a way that would preclude so much self-centeredness, selfishness, impatience.... etc. There are so many theories, books, opinions written and talked about by anyone and everyone.
As an example of a conundrum that I faced trying to "teach" behavior that was not self centered, and not attention seeking: Do I focus all of my attention on the kids, so that they feel secure at home, and don't "need" to seek out attention... Or does that cause them to "learn" that they should be the center of attention all of the time? Maybe you laugh. Maybe this seems like I'm "overthinking" parenting, and perhaps that's true. But if you have kids, I'm guessing that you've been there at some point too.
It is REALLY hard raising kids! And I strongly believe that I should look at my "job" as just that... a career. It's not to be taken lightly, or shrugged off, leaving things to chance that your children will turn out to be Christian, responsible, compassionate.... And (I'm guessing) that in a career you put in time and energy looking at ways to grow better, more skilled, you'd make sure that your work was being done with excellence.
But that is where it gets even tougher! There's no grade, no report, no raises for your doing an "Excellent" job. So, with a little help from my dad, and a good friend, I think I have come up with the answer to my own problem.
Living it. It sounds simple.... Living it is the only way to really teach your children to be something or some way with the highest likelihood of success. I found this quote and really loved it: "Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners"
If I want my kids to be selfless, I have to become selfless. If I want them to be patient, I have to learn to be patient. And as a friend pointed out..faking it isn't going to work for long. If I "fake" patience for a few hours, maybe even a few days... certainly my temper will end up getting the best of me and the kids will see that I can't walk the walk.
But trust me, I have been trying to change. And it's not working! I've thought about giving up (really I have) and giving in to the philosophy "This is just how God made me" but then today, during bible study, the obvious hit me.
God can change me. I can't change myself. I cannot make myself change from a person who is self centered, to a person who is others centered (I will stop at this one example instead of writing a diatribe against myself) And certainly, if God can create in me the qualities I want to see emulated by my children.... I think I will be doing the best that I can do in raising "good" children, and God will take care of the rest.
Romans 12:2 "Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think"