There was a time in life when men went out and worked outside of the home and were the sole providers for their families. Meanwhile, the women stayed home and took care of the children. As things have changed over time many households consist of two working parents, and many children are growing up in single parent homes. In some cultures extended family live in or near the home and help assist with needs of the children, which is extremely helpful. But that is not always the case. Even if extended family is assisting with childrearing, that does not mean the responsibility of the parents is minimal or no longer is exists. If most of our time is spent at work providing, who is raising our children?
Children spend many of their waking hours in day care or at school, and I have noticed that there seems to be this myth or expectation that the school is responsible for more than education. These days we expect the school system to train them, teach them manners, mentor, counsel and babysit our children. We expect schools to do all of that and instill moral and ethical principles, and that is unrealistic. That is not the responsibility of the schools, but it is the parents' job. Schools were set up to academically educate our children.
Are the television, Internet and video games raising your children? Do you allow your child to spend countless hours in front of the television, playing video games, on social media or playing games through apps on his or her phone? We see that many youth do not know how to interact in regular face-to-face conversations with adults. And many expect to answers to be given to them and have a hard time thinking and processing things. For the most part, those electronic gadgets do not stimulant the brain or help with human interaction. It causes a disconnect. All over the television, children are disrespectful towards adults and people in position of authority. So are we surprised when many of today’s children speak in a rude manner but are really clueless about the fact that they are being that way? Sometimes parents find it much easier to let the children in front of television or other devices, but the long term effects are not always the best.
Are the neighbors raising your children? Or are their friends' parents raising your children? Or are your children raising themselves???Are you so exhausted at the end of the day when you get home from work that you just allow your children to do whatever they want? You can't get upset with the schools, the television and everyone else when you see negative behavior. First of all, we need to ask ourselves, what are we really teaching our children? How we training them, according to our own actions? They learn more by what they see, not just what we tell them.
Expecting the schools, the churches, the boys and girls clubs and other programs to teach your children what you should be teaching them is unrealistic and irresponsible. It's much easier to pass the responsibility onto others. Parenting wasn't made to be easy. We are talking about another person's life, shaping them into someone of integrity, good character, hard-working and prepared with all the right tools to succeed in life.
Don't get me wrong, there are teachers who go above and beyond which end up making a positive impact on children's lives. There are grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members who assist in raising our children. There are ministers, coaches, tutors and many other community members that add to the lives of our children. The African proverb says, "It takes a village to raise a child," and I have found this to be very true. However, those people being in our children's lives should complement the upbringing of our children, not take away our responsibilities.
We desire to give our children everything we did not have. We want them to be happy. It is also our job to teach them to be responsible, and one major way we can do that is by being responsible ourselves. Prepare them for life. Hold them accountable for their actions. Teach them to hold a respectful conversation with an adult. Teach them to be on time and to be people of their word. Those little things are the things that prepare them to get jobs and keep jobs. Do more than just provide for them. Actively love them. Be present in the lives of your children. Be engaged in what they are involved in. Just as when you love any other person, take interest in what interests them. Get to really know them. Talk to them. But also listen. It's not just a task and a responsibility, but it is an honor. Train them –by showing them with your actions, not just by saying it. Our children are our biggest and best investment. Do your part, and raise your children.