Saturday, September 29, 2012

Are You Raising Kids?

I've been in the parenting business for awhile now - a quarter of century to be exact. While I do and have done a lot of child rearing (raising) I don't tell people that I'm raising children.

A friend of mine states that she's not raising children either, she's raising adults. I get her point. I'd hate to think that at the end of twenty years of investing into the lives of our offspring we still have kids on our hands.

But I've always taken the view that the people we are raising are spiritual beings. Therefore, our job is to raise them with the hope of heaven an eternity spent with the Master and Creator of the Universe. In other words, I'm not raising kids, or adults. I'm raising spiritual beings that will live for all eternity. It's a radical concept, my belief in eternity, but I'm committed to it. Furthermore, I believe that there is a heaven and a hell and people who choose a life devoid of God will live an eternity devoid of God.

Our house is pretty kid friendly. We've been deliberate in the types of toys we've chosen- open ended and imaginative play things, art supplies, the great outdoors, etc. Coupled with that we've thrown in lots of real work (because our life on the acreage- which all of our kids, at the time it was purchased, willingly agreed to participate in) demands it. We've added in a healthy dose of travel, opportunities, experiences and literature, while limiting electronics and screen-time.

In addition to that we've homeschooled, providing our kids with a personalized, private education, delivered by highly educated and engaged parents.

As they've entered adulthood, life has gotten more complicated. Higher education is obscenely expensive and not always a ticket to anywhere, like-minded travelers fewer, the siren sound of comfort and dissatisfaction louder; those who would disparage our efforts more deliberate. While we've never demanded that our kids move out at a certain age or get a college degree regardless of debt, our home is not exactly young-adult friendly. We can't answer all of the problems and questions and demands of the young adults we've raised from birth. We don't have superfluous amounts of money for extra cars or smart phones and we continue to watch movies as a family that are morally acceptable for the youngest member of the family.

And frankly, that's not my problem. I've been criticized both for being too controlling and enmeshed as well as not being generous, gentle, kind or responsible enough. The reality is that I am living out MY call. And once my kids hit adult-hood, it's their job to diligently seek out theirs. The task requires diligence and effort and prayer and tears. Because the gap between the sheltered child-hood that my husband and I have sacrificed and prayerfully provided for them and eternity contains a big wide world that would love to eat them alive, physically, mentally, familially and spiritually. "Almost Christian" is good enough in some circles, but I'm fundamentalist enough to believe that it won't be in heaven.

I continue to lay the firmest foundation I know to lay which includes prayer, training in the precepts of our faith, biographies of our spiritual fathers and mothers, apologetics training, political and world view discussions, activism, and more prayer. And it might not be enough. There are only first generation Christians in the Kingdom. Everyone's faith must be their own.

And I can only do what I'm called to do- raise and train. It's a front end load proposition and not outcome oriented. It requires faith to even attempt and more faith to try to live out.


Anonymous said...

This came at a good moment when my husband and I are trying to explain to our son that hours and hours of video games now does not equate to a healthy adult later.

LaughingLioness said...

I hope this was helpful! Blessings to you!

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Excellent. I struggle with this--spiritual parenting. My kids are young--8, 6, and 2, with #4 on the way--but sometimes I look to the future and just want to curl up from fear and dread. You're so right, though--we "raise" these spiritual beings, and it's up to them where they go from there.

LaughingLioness said...

Amy, I commend you for your courage!! Prayers for you today as you fight the good fight of radically living for the Kingdom!

Debbie said...

Love the post.