PARENTING. “I swear, I’m going to make sure my kids never experience the hardships that I had!” Sounds familiar?
I hear a lot of parents say this because they love their kids so much. And I’m sure it’s said with the best intentions. Problem is, will it do our kids good? What actually happens if you live life without hardships?
Well, here’s what happens—the same thing that happens to a man who does nothing but lie down in a couch all day—no exercise, no job, no mental work, no challenges. Nothing is the right word. And often, we think this is what’s best for our children.
I started doing serious house chores at 13 when I was in grade 7. I mean, I started gardening and watering plants using two big pails to get water from our deep well, wash clothes manually (and also get water for this from our deep well), clean the house inside and out, clean the kitchen and stained pots and pans, cook, buy groceries and buy fresh food from the wet market. All these while boys my age where enjoying parties, discos, girlfriends and so much fun.
I also started going to public school located in a tough neighborhood far away from home. And on weekends, I had to help my mom care for my invalid grandma, sleep with her in her room, feed her and literally carry her to clinics and specialists. This went on through college.
In college, I was a working student.
Now, did I want to spare my kids from all that? Nope. I have always encouraged them to follow in my footsteps, especially how I did heavy house chores as a young teenager and worked hard to earn money for my schooling.
Because all that hardship taught me to be strong, patient, kind, broad-minded, meek but fierce. I’ve since become a silent warrior.
Sometime when I became a church pastor, I saw it in Scriptures:
It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. [Lamentation 3.27]
So you see, it’s God’s will for the young to experience hardships. So don’t spare your young from them. Let them have it.
But never force it on them. The bible also says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.’ [Ephesians 6.4]
In my youth, I did the things I did of my own free will. I really wanted to help my parents. They never forced me to do anything.
Jesus was the only begotten Son of the Father, and yet look at how he lived. The Father allowed him to be born to poor parents, live a poor carpenter’s life and suffer the cross.
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. [Hebrews 5]
No doubt your kids deserve good things, even better things than those you had in your youth. But never spare them the hardships that will naturally come their way—especially home works, school projects, assignments, diligence in studies, house chores, and when the time comes, earning his or her own living.