“I want my children to grow up and be complete failures” has been said by no one, ever.
Of course, we all want to raise successful kids. The problem is many of us approach the idea without much thought or definition. What does it look like to raise a child to be successful? A quick internet search reveals that success is “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” So what are we aiming at? What does success look like?
Being rich? Having a healthy marriage and family life? Feeling happy?
There are many ideas that might define what raising successful children looks like. So, the first step is to define what we think is success for our children.
Here are the answers for our family from least to most important:
4. Be financially independent
3. Be happy and healthy
2. Have a great marriage and children (if they choose to)
1. Love God and love their neighbor
Generally, children are under our roof and direct influence for 18 years. That’s it. What will contribute to their success will change as they mature from being totally dependent on you toward being totally independent of you.
Let’s divide these 18 years into three periods; pre-school, grammar school and secondary school. What helps a child in one time period is not exactly the same as in another. Some things remain constant but change in how we encourage it. For instance, everyone agrees that eating healthy and exercising is good for our children. But, the way we promote healthy eating and exercise will be different for a four-year old than a 17 year-old.
Grammar School (5 – 12)
Secondary School (13 – 18)
Raising children is a tremendous blessing, even though it very hard at times. Enjoy every minute. It’s over before you realize it.
By Marlin and Laurie Detweiler
Marlin and Laurie Detweiler live in Lancaster, Pa. They own and operate Veritas Press which develops and sells curricular materials to Christian schools and home schools along with operating an online school. They have developed an app that teaches reading called the Phonics Museum. They have four boys, three daughter-in-laws, and three grandchildren with another on the way.
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