A few years back, my husband and I were talking about what we would and wouldn’t do when we had children and how we would and wouldn’t raise them.
Those conversations went a little like, would we give our kids allowance, would we do family dinners, would we spank our children, and the list goes on and on and on. I think everyone at some point thinks “Oh, I would NEVER do that to my children when I’m a parent” based on what they see another parent do to a child or based on how they were raised and wished they would have been treated differently. Or there is something that we know without a doubt that this is the single way to instill a certain value into a child so we know that whatever we won’t do, we will do this certain thing.
This isn’t a post telling you the right way to raise a child.
Its just that, in these discussions, my husband boiled down the thought that, we ultimately come up with these things we want to and don’t want to do to our children because we want our children to have better than we had. And he said this like it was a universal truth.
Maybe that seems obvious to you. But when I first heard that statement, it didn’t quite feel right. I felt like it implied like I had some deficit growing up, like my childhood was slighted, or that my parents did something wrong, something that they could have NOT done wrong. Once I got past that initial reaction, I could see the value in the statement. We should always be striving to bring up the next generation “better”. Striving to do better for ourselves, or for the benefit of others.
I think there lies some confusion in what “better” translates to, whether it is more money, more opportunities, more faith support, more family love, better health, but wanting “better” for our children doesn’t have to be a commentary on our own upbringing, but the very nature of us humans. By our given nature and fallen world there is always something we could work on or someone we could do a better job of helping. We can always do and be better.
I was in a discussion group with several other women and I mentioned this same thing: that we all want better for our children. That as humans, its obvious we want better for our children with each successive generation.
And I saw the same puzzled looks. The same hesitation that I originally had that thoughts like this didn’t come naturally to these women.
And it was then that I realized that it was because we came from such privilege that we didn’t obviously want better for our children.
Not responding to that question in the affirmative immediately revealed that maybe we did have it really good after all. Sure, things can be improved upon, but wow, if we don’t jump up and shout YES, we want BETTER! then maybe we should be jumping up and shouting in thanksgiving for how well we had it after all.
Just my little two second realization of everything I have to be thankful for.