All of us, to some degree, assign some level of romanticism to our childhood. The food was better, we like the toys we played with more than today’s toys, riding bikes trumps video games, etc. This belief manifests itself frequently in that we try to impose our childhood experience on our children. Maybe impose oversells the point a little but we do try to re-create our upbringing in our children. I’m not saying that we should not bring what we know to parenting I’m suggesting that what rocked in 1980 is probably lame in 2013.
My responsibility to my kids is to prepare them to be the kind of people who will shape the world for the Lord’s glory. Whose actions will lead them to ask “does this love my neighbor?” In order to do that we need to be sensitive to who God created them to be. What worked for me won’t necessarily work for anyone else. Our kids are not clones they are unique individuals created in the Lord’s image.
I believe this principal is highlighted in The Bible in the story of David and Goliath. David is sent by his father with food for his brothers while they perform their military service in Saul’s army in the Valley of Elah fighting against the Philistines. When he arrives he hears that Goliath has challenged the army everyday for 40 days and no one from Israel has accepted. David says that he will fight the giant. His brothers burn with anger and the king finally hears of the boy’s bravery. He tries to talk David out of fighting the giant. The following ensues.
I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”
Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!”
Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before.
“I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.
– 1 Samuel 17:36-40 (NLT)
We all know how the story ends. Not well for the giant. David kills him and cuts his head off. But before David goes out to meet Goliath Saul tries to make David a version of himself. He tries to get David to use the things that he uses for protection but David rejects that because the only protection he needs is the Lord God Almighty. That which Saul used for protection was only a hindrance to David. Who I was at 10 is not who any of my kids need to be at 10.
We shouldn’t try to create version 2.0 of ourselves in our kids. We should embrace who God made them to be and parent in a way that doesn’t get in the way of that.