A year or so ago a friend mentioned that she couldn’t think of anything that she and her husband had done wrong in rearing their children thus far (her oldest was eight years old). I remember thinking, “That is only because her children are so young” but was chagrined to realize that I had the same thought. I was pretty happy with our son’s behavior. People saw us as good parents (and that’s all that matters, right?). We were doing everything right.
I think we fall into this trap when we see child rearing as something we do: a system of discipline, protection from the world, giving all the right opportunities. If I see childrearing as a checklist of accomplishments, then yes, I believe it’s possible to say, “I wouldn’t change anything about how we raised our children.”
If we see childrearing as a life lived before our children and actions stemming from a relationship with Christ, every of us would probably say, “Oh, I wish I had spent more time loving God. I wish I had spent more time devoting myself to His Word instead of so much time reading ‘Christian methods manuals.’ I wish I had spent more time living a life passionately for Christ.” Sure, I can know where I stand on the spanking issue, but what does that matter if I am not showing my children by my actions how much I value wisdom and the Word of God?
When I look at it this way, I see a lot that I would change. I see a lot that I want to change now. So with that thought… I must get to work. I need to spend time with God right now. Then I need to make some phone calls that I’ve been putting off. And I need to work on the laundry.