I’m an old woman and still remember hearing the philosophy that the three “R”s were all we needed to learn in order to succeed as students. I think the person who came up with that concept needed some education on spelling. Reading is the only one that makes sense. Writing begins with a
“W” and the actual art of writing has changed dramatically over my lifetime. Cursive wriing is an archaic term today. It’s an obsolete language which seems to have been gobbled up by the Internet. Kids simply can’t interpret anything written in cursive. Of course, I can’t decipher my own handwriting anymore. Arithmetic is not really a subject, nor does it begin with “R.” Now it’s called New Math and us old fogies haven’t got a clue what it means. A lot of today’s students don’t get it either.
I would, therefore, like to offer my own 3 “Rs” to those of you who are beginning the parenting phase. There are probably more to consider, but today I’d like to propose these three:
RESPECT – RESPONSIBILITY – RESILIENCE
RESPECT: This bit of learning should begin at the very beginning. When a child is taught to respect those in authority, their parents, their teachers, their religious leaders, friends and employers, they will have a much easier go in this life. As they grow into their teens, a reverence and respect for law enforcement is also a necessary tool whereby they can navigate through tough situations. When I was a young girl, I pocketed something that caught my eye in a secondhand store. I didn’t pay for the object. I don’t even remember what it was. My father discovered that I had stolen it and marched me back to the store to return it At the time I was humiliated, (mostly because I was caught) but I ate a huge piece of humble pie that day and the thought of not becoming a thief was now emblazoned into my brain. When we teach our children to respect others, the Golden Rule should apply. Treat others as you wish to be treated.
RESPONSIBILITY: This attribute is a result of showing respect to others. When we stand up for our children, even when they’re wrong, we’re sending a wrong message. When we do wrong, we must be willing to take the consequences for our actions. So many young parents believe they are to establish a friendship with their children. I’m not saying you shouldn’t care about your kids or come to their rescue, but they do need to realize that there will be residual effects to bad behavior. The children of today have it so much harder than we did as children. They are under tremendous pressure to succeed. They often are overspent with after school activities that rob them family time and relationships with others. It’s OK if they don’t excel in something, but the awarding of participation certificates isn’t the way to do that. We need to help our children find what interests them and then help them realize their potential. They also need to know it’s OK not to win at everything. Failure often leads to future success.
RESILIENCE: We’re beginning to live in a world of hermits. Electronics have given us a plethora of instant knowledge, while offering a platform for all kinds of destructive platforms that are easily accessible to our children. The fact that we went through a very long pandemic and faced isolation has increased the use of those tools. Many are doing jobs from the comfort of their homes and actual face to face communication has broken down. The old adage, “Sticks and stones can break my ones,” is simply no longer true. It’s too bad we need to teach our children how to rebound from bullying, name calling, lies and slander going into cyber-space. We all feel vulnerable with social media today and with good reason. Giving our kids the tools to withstand these harmful jabs and often depressing words is vital. Limiting screen time is tough, but necessary. Teaching them that they are loved is more than important. Get them involved in activities where they will learn to solve problems, work with others to accomplish their goals and sharpen up their communication skills. The statistics on depression, anxiety and suicide in our time have surged dramatically. Everyone needs to know that they are loved by God. We all need to be loved.
As I said at the beginning, there are many “R”s out there that deserve attention. RELIGION is one that comes to mind. This is something we can nurture along the way. Get in the habit of worshipping with your children – at home, in church – in youth groups that provide application through God’s Word. With the pandemic, came on-line worship. There are tons of great devotions online as well. This is something you should be doing together with them.
“Train up a child in the way he should go. Even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 ESV