Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tender years

I stumbled upon this picture this week of my boys at the beach. I looked at the progression of small to big. It seemed like they were all just small last week. Where did the time go? Then, I started to think deeper. What have I done with that time? Did I feed them?

For a minute we are not going to talk about food. I spend so much time worrying about what I put in their mouths but food is just one part of what we must feed these tender souls.

Am I feeding their minds? Their spirits? Their work ethics? Their desire to serve? Their ability to love? Am I feeding them in these tender years of growth by example and with opportunities so that they will have "eaten up" all that they need to before they walk out my door? Heavy stuff.

This thought process carried on further when my husband and I had a conversation about our teenage years the other night. We were discussing the jobs we had as teens in the high school years. I had many of them - none of them very glamorous. At 15, I cleaned and cooked for a family who completely messed up everything from one day to the next. I had to cook fish, devein shrimp, polish silver and clean a rotten pumpkin out of the carpet. I did it all for $5 per hour. One of the fun jobs I had. My husband recalled his "fun" summers working construction starting at 4:30 in the morning in the hot AZ sun for long hours. We thought, "do any teens do this anymore?" Can they? Have we messed them up, dumbed them down, created wimps? By wanting better for them, have we not fed their hard work ethic?

I did work hard as a teen. I worked almost every Saturday that I could think of instead of playing like many of my friends and many days after school. I didn't like it many of the times but I chose to do it. I wasn't asked to. I can tell you that those days of cleaning toilets and cooking horrible smelling fish, that I learned how to take care of a family and work hard. I came to the marriage table with skills to offer. What will my children bring with them as a dowry?

One thing I know we have done right; we don't have video games. I detest video games. Detest. I hate the time they waste. There is absolutely not one single thing that they bring good into a life. If you have time to play, you have time to serve and learn something else. I think we have messed up a whole generation with that invention. I know that a little here and there is fine. However, is it ever a little?

Things we have done wrong? Sure. I do too much for my kids. I make too many beds, I don't teach them to cook like I should, I did the dishes for them for too long and folded their cloths. I send them in long before I come in from working in the yard. I worry about them having a good childhood sometimes more than I worry about if they will be ready to leave.

I need to focus on feeding them on a higher level. Time is critical. Changes need to be made.

I have good kids. They do so many things right and I know that it may have something to do with what I have taught them. I hope. But, it is time to step it up. The world is only getting worse. We need to feed these kids to be champions. To be able to dominate the troubled times ahead. No wimps will make it. No lazy bones will pay the rent. The world is not a video game.


Tracey said...

I love your posts!

Natalie said...

LOVE LOVE L.O.V.E. this post. I have posted similarly at times. {with a similar picture of my kids too! funny.}

thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

My boys are ages 5 and 3. They know that they have to work for the things they want (toys). It is hard sometimes to hold my ground when my brothers and sisters voice their opinions that I should give my kids everything they desire because "they won't be kids for long". They don't understand why my kids don't eat happy meals or soda. I never would have guessed that their diet would be such a huge source of disagreement. But I can't imagine how I would feel if I knew I had sent my kids into this scary world unprepared. I have seen true pride on their faces when they walk into a store with the money they have earned and bought the toy they want the most. And I hope that they continue to feel that same pride everytime they accomplish their goals. This post sort of reaffirms to me that my boys can't afford for me to be soft. There are too many influences that could penetrate the soft. Thank you.

RPH said...

best post so far, thanks Shari.

Terri Burges Hirning said...

Oh girl, we should have a lunch date to talk about this. We do not do our children a service by doing everything for them or letting them rule the roost at a tender age. Responsibility is a must in my opinion. We will be delivering a generation of people who will get a really bad reality check when they leave the nest, if they ever do.....All I can say is I agree with you.

Tracey said...

Love this post!