Friday, June 10, 2011

I've been vaguely uneasy since school let out.  We have been busy. Everyone has been happy and well, but there's been an undercurrent of something amiss and today I think I know what it is.

My children are restless.

Gone are the routines that give structure to their day.  Our workload is drastically less and so is the "running around town getting things done."  I've been looking forward to it all year.  "Finally," I thought, "time to do all my projects, dig into the books I want to read, clear my head..."

Instead, I find myself appeasing them all day long.  Play dates, movies, ice cream, computer.  It is all fun and games and if there is any lag in the entertainment, well, they don't know what to do with themselves.  They crave but they don't know for what.

This has got to be a common problem today.  In the past, children worked.  They helped their family survive.  They had purpose.

Obviously, I know my children have purpose.  But do they know it?  Surely there is more to parenting than keeping them safe and entertained until 18, 21, 25? 

I think I've done a decent job parenting thus far.  I can pretty much guarantee that my children will grow up to be moral, law-abiding, productive citizens.  But I need to make a shift and go deeper.  It is time for them to start owning their faith and thinking about more important things than the Disney channel.

Those of you who have walked before me - I would love your ideas and insights.  Most parenting books address a child's behavior, but rarely address their heart.  I really want to look back on this summer as a time of sifting out some of the distractions.  Thank you!


  1. I think this way too. And, though we are only two days in, I have been committed to not entertaining them every second. (Though I am still in the behavior stage in many ways.) Can't wait to hear if you get any great disciplines.

  2. Susan, I've been thinking a lot about your post since reading it. A couple of things I've read today reminded me of your post and this one probably expresses my thoughts best: The article she links, from a decidedly Catholic perspective, is also convicting.

    If I had to say I did anything right in raising my two, it would have to be expecting and demanding more from my children than the world and even the church expected. My kids probably benefited most from having chores at home and from living too far from town to be involved in more "fun" activities. I'd also say they learned a LOT from a couple of very lean years in our family when we were severely limited in our ability to indulge them in material things. Both of them mention those lessons in frugality (and the accompanying reliance on God's providing for our needs!) as a huge influence in their lives.

    Along those lines,Amy Dacyzyn, publisher of the Tightwad Gazette frugality newsletter, once wrote an article about kids losing the ability to enjoy simple pleasures. This blog post, about halfway down, retells Amy's story quite well. The rest of the post addresses what I think was probably the worst mistakes I made as a parent. When, near our kids' college years, we were able to and began indulging them far more often, we experienced the jadedness and lack of appreciation mentioned in the blog post. If I had it to do over, I would keep my kids home even more, challenge them more, teach them to work alongside me in the garden, and in the kitchen, more, and refuse to give in to whines and cries for entertainment. Much easier said than done, of course! Lucas insists he will not have a television when he has children. I think he's right and I hope he sticks to that. Again, much easier said than done.

    Blessings for a wonderful summer with your three wonderful children.

  3. Sandy, Thanks so much for posting! I read both articles and really appreciated them. I'm pretty good about giving chores to my children but this summer, we are going to work on service projects for other people. I also think we are going to Guatemala for a missions trip this winter - so this summer will be a great time for learning Spanish. Thank you for blessing me today!