Parents play an increasingly vital role in today’s more and more complex and dangerous society. At the same time, many are abdicating their responsibility to the state in the form of teachers, law enforcement, and fundamentals including food and healthcare.
Parents are primarily responsible for everything in their children’s lives.
That is the subject of today’s 10-minute blog/podcast.
Your role, our unique and exceptional roles in our shared unique and exceptional nation, includes being there for our children, and doing the hard work–the consistent hard work over many years–of raising them. Parents are primarily responsible for everything in their children’s lives. Logistical things like food, clothing, healthcare and transportation. Eduction. Moral development. Physical development. Learning the basics of how to succeed as a person and in the world.
In order to meet this responsibility, parents need to:
- Be there. I know that may seem obvious, but with all the missing parents the point, sadly, needs to be made.
- Be aware that education is their responsibility. That teachers are coaches are immensely valuable, but the parents have the primary responsibility for their children’s education and mental discipline development.
- Be aware that while law enforcement is obviously necessary, they are primarily responsible for developing their children’s respect for authority.
- Be aware that employers can teach many things that parents can’t, but the parents are the key to instilling a strong work ethic.
- Be willing to sacrifice in order to meet these responsibilities.
Much has been said and written about the obligations parents have in a child’s early years. Feeding, diapers, late nights, trundling the offspring everywhere you go. Not finishing a sentence. Spending your money on more things than you thought possible. Losing closeness with your spouse. All of this is hard, and at the same time it looks like some sort of exercise, a monumental exercise that can last for several years, perhaps, but an exercise that you can get through, and then it ends. Not so, by the way.
The harder part, yes there is a harder part, is modeling the correct behavior. Let’s start with reading. Reading is critical; not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers. If you want your child to be a reader, you must be one. Have books in the home. Read them. Read to your child, and let them read to you as they develop. Quote from books. Share life lessons you have learned from books. No, not videos–books. Make books come alive, make them fun, make them valuable.
Modeling also includes a strong work ethic, valuing useful education, understanding and demonstrating how money works, and respecting authority. Pause for the obvious: in order to model anything, you must first know how to do it, and then be willing to make it a priority.
Let’s start with understanding and modeling how money works. As with all of life, following a few simple rules will change everything. And, as with all of life, the rules are easy to understand, and very hard to actually follow. It’s that motivation and discipline thing. Here are the rules: 1. Make more than you spend. 2. Spend less than you earn. 3. Never finance anything that depreciates. And, no, the first two rules are not the same.
Let’s pause for a moment for an example of simple to understand, but hard to do. People do know what to do even in difficult situations. The reason they don’t is not lack of knowledge, but lack of sufficient motivation to do the hard tasks that likely lie in front of them. A friend, the most long-term successful health and life coach I know, provides a great example. When I approached Don about losing weight, he asked two questions. The first was, “Will, if you are at McDonald’s, which is the better choice, a Big Mac with fries and a Coke, or a salad?” “Well, the salad, of course.” “Okay”, Don, continued, “If you work in a 5-story building, is it better to take the stairs or the elevator?” “C’mon, Don, the stairs. That’s basic.” “Then why don’t you do those things, Will?” We all know what to do. We pretend that we really don’t to give ourselves an excuse not to do the necessary hard work to get through whatever is in front of us. And I believe that we all know the deep joy, the intense satisfaction that comes from overcoming obstacles and just getting things done in life. Life is simple. Life is hard. Succeed anyway. Parenting is simple. Parenting is hard. Succeed as a parent for your kids anyway.
Make sense? Okay, let’s look at understanding and modeling valuing education. Are you modeling lifelong learning to your children? Do you speak with respect about their teachers? Do you show interest in their studies, including their homework? Do you work to show your kids that education, both academic and vocational, can improve their lives in many ways, including financially?
How about modeling a strong work ethic; where are we there? “Take this job and shove it!” was a fun song, but a lousy thing to ever say to your children about work. How do you speak about your boss? The company that pays you? They may not seem to be paying attention, but they take in every word, gesture and attitude.
Lastly, let’s look at modeling respect for authority. When a teacher gives your child a bad grade, or initiates a disciplinary action, what is your response? The correct response is to back the teacher, reinforcing at home the actions taken at school. And how about if you get a speeding ticket? Do you make it known that you were wrong, got caught, and need to face the consequences? Or do you say something like, “I was only 7 miles over the speed limit (in a school zone); don’t they have real criminals to catch?” Remember, they are absorbing everything.
Today’s Key Point: Parenting is the responsibility of the parents, not various state agencies. Bad parenting creates more thought, attitude and income inequalities than any other single source. Good parenting creates strong families, communities and nations.
Here are a few fun observations;
- Prospective parents are correctly told that their lives will change fundamentally. What they are not told is that it will never change back. You are a parent for life.
- Parenting is not about you; it is about your children.
- For the first 25 or so years, your primary role is as a parent, not as a friend.
- When things are as they should be, parents will always love their kids more than the kids love them. Your reward as a parent will come when you see them loving your grandchildren more.
Segueing from the specifics of today’s topic to overall principles, the core, driving principles at Revolution 2.0, are:
- Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
- Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
And do it all in love; without love, these are empty gestures, destined to go nowhere and mean nothing.
If we apply those two core principles, personal responsibility and brother’s keepers, simultaneously, never only one or the other, we will always be on the right path. Depending upon what we face, one principle or the other may appropriately be given more emphasis, but they are always acted upon together
The Founders, Revolution 1.0, were declared traitors by the British Crown, and their lives were forfeit if caught. We risk very little by stepping up and participating in Revolution 2.0™. In fact, we risk our futures if we don’t. I am inviting you, recruiting you, to join Revolution 2.0™ today. Join with me in using what we know how to do–what we know we must do–to everyone’s advantage. Let’s practice thinking well of others as we seek common goals, research the facts that apply to those goals, and use non agenda-based reasoning to achieve those goals together. Practice personal responsibility and be your brother’s keeper.
I believe that America is a unique and exceptional place, and that you–you and I–have an equally unique and exceptional role to play in it. That’s what drives this podcast.
Revolution 1.0 in 1776 was built by people talking to other people, agreeing and disagreeing, but always finding ways to stay united and go forward. Revolution 2.0 will be built the same way.
Join me. Join the others. Think about what we are talking about and share these thoughts and principles with others. Subscribe, encourage others to subscribe. Act. Let’s grow this together.
And visit the store. Fun stuff, including hats, mugs and t-shirts. Recommend other items that you’d like to see.
Links and References
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the blog with comments or questions about this podcast or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe to the podcast on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google, or Stitcher.
Now it is time for our usual parting thought. It is not enough to be informed. It is not enough to be a well informed voter. We need to act. And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show.
Know your stuff, then act on it. Knowing your stuff without acting is empty; acting without knowing is dangerous.
Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.