Have you ever really thought about a parent’s responsibility towards their children? Is it to provide a roof over their heads? Is it to provide clothing? Food? Security? Education? Good eating habits? The thing is that all of those things form part of a parent’s responsibility towards their children. But the main thing is preparing your children for life.
Yes, most certainly it means providing a roof over their heads. Most certainly it means providing clothing. And food, security and education. But that is not the ultimate goal.
What is needed for succeeding at life?
You need to ask yourself, what does one need for succeeding at life? Do you think it is an Ivy League education? Well then, how is it that some of the most successful people of all time never finished school? Do yourself a favor and read this article by Robert Kiyosaki on 50 Extremely Successful People who never finished school. All over the world there are people who are highly qualified, who are not making a success of their lives. Clearly education is not necessarily needed for succeeding in life.
Is health required for success in life? What about Stephen Hawking? Would you not say that he was successful? Is wealth required for success in life? What would you say about Oprah Winfrey? Has she been successful?
Do you think that rich people are more successful than poor people? Do you think that rich people’s children are better prepared for life than poor people’s children? Are rich people happier than poor people? Are educated people happier than uneducated people? Do you think that people in the developed world are more successful than people in developing countries?
Success in life looks different to different people
The reality is that success in life looks different to different people. It is something that you have to consider carefully. What does it mean for you?
Let’s think about this a bit. How would you measure the success of a bicycle? If the wheels turn when you are pedaling, the gears work (if your bicycle has gears), the brakes do their job and the steering works. It’s the same with a kitchen knife. It is useless when it isn’t sharp. If you cannot sharpen it and it cannot do its job of cutting, you throw it away.
Successful people find their purpose in life
Successful people are people who find their purpose in life and live it. They do not just survive or plod on from day to day – they live their lives to the fullest. Do they ever fail? Sure they do. But they never lose sight of their purpose and their goal.
I know the true story of a boy who wanted to become a doctor. He did not come from a well to do family or a prosperous town. Before he was five years old, he would be operating on citrus fruits. He would do brain surgery and kidney transplants on the fruit.
By the time the boy was about 10 the school wanted to send him for special ed, saying that he would never be successful in life if he did not do something with his hands. He simply refused because he was going to become a doctor. The school that he was going to did not offer Maths as a subject in the higher classes. When the boy went to high school, he was behind in Maths. But he gave the word tenacity a new meaning. He passed the entrance exam to medical school. In the first year, he became very ill and could not attend class for three months. It meant that he failed his first year. But when most other people would have decided it was an impossible dream, he simply never gave up. Years later he started the kidney transplant unit at the university where he was working.
Successful people have a few things in common: they know where they are going and they have the character to get them there.
Success is to be who God has called you to be
For Christians there is an added dimension. Success is to be who God has called you to be. That is what our purpose should be. I strongly believe that God has a calling for each one of us. I am not saying that it means that everybody should be in ministry. Or let me rephrase that, because what is ministry? I am not saying that everybody should be working for the church. God called that boy in my earlier story to be a medical doctor. He ended up saving many people’s lives – people whom other doctors had given up on. God calls people as ministers, missionaries, scientists, medical doctors, engineers, architects, musicians, entrepreneurs, politicians, teachers… you name it.
Prepare your children to discover God’s calling on their lives
If you then want to prepare your children for life, you need to prepare them to discover God’s calling on their lives. It is not your responsibility to discover God’s calling on their lives, but to prepare them to discover it for themselves. We need to provide our children with the skills they require for this.
Firstly they should learn how to hear God’s voice for themselves. This means that they must be saturated with God’s Word. You have to provide them with the tools to build character – loyalty, integrity, self-control, patience. They should know that joy and peace do not depend on one’s circumstances but it depends on the One inside them. Our children need to understand that gentleness and kindness to others are a sign of strength. They should know how and where to seek for wisdom. We need to teach our children that obedience is better than sacrifice and that they must be humble.
These are some of the most important skills that we can teach our children to prepare them for life.
Yes, it is true that they need other skills as well but somehow, if these are in place, the rest will also fall into place.
Holding hand image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay Graduation image by Gillian Callison from Pixabay Target image by meineresterampe from Pixabay Rock climbing image by Pexels from Pixabay