What Am I Raising Children For?

I recently started the book ”The Gift of Failure,” by Jessica Lahey. She starts her history of parenting during early colonial settlement times, and this perspective had me thinking of raising kids during a subsistence lifestyle.

Farming families or hunters and gathers necessitated having kids in order to sustain the pack. Farmers need additional hands to farm. Hunters need to teach their craft to support the tribe. Most of todays families raising kids in the information age do not need kids for either purpose. The drive to have kids may be purely evolutional, God-given drive.

The question “what am I raising kids for” remind myself that these kids are not mine. My kids are members of the community, of the world, and they will set out with values, attitudes, perspectives planted by the seeds of my nurturing. The interactions I have with my kids has ripple effects for years down the road. Put that way, difficult times become teachable moments.

The raising of my two kids is an inner longing to see my DNA continue on after I’m gone. My DNA and the memory of me will continue on through my kids, and the teachings I bring to the everyday, the mundane, and the difficult will be part of the future of the world.

The future world. What will that look like? My grandparents viewed video calls as science fiction, and here we are living it. There are lots of predictions, but future predictions are just that until the present arrives. The thing I can do as a father is prepare my kids for the future, to bring their best selves with them and face challenges with an open mind.

Modelling is the best teacher. I can preach and talk my kids’ ears off as to why it’s important to work hard, but showing them is another thing. For example, patience is one skill that can’t be preached about. Sure, we know the idea, we understand the importance, but not until the actual practice of patience is put into place is the true understanding felt. I need to have patience with my kids if they are to learn patience.

Here’s to giving our kids tools for the future, so the future can be brighter because of our kids.

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