It is literally impossible to get through an entire week without the fear of getting shot by some random person having a bad day or a bad life. Parents with children in the school system, public or private it doesn’t matter, worry constantly about the safety of their children while at school. Customers in a restaurant or a retail location, employees in the workplace, drivers going to and fro on an average day. There is no safe place in our society anymore. Why? What happened to cause all of these random killers to be loose in our society? Everyone has an opinion. The fact is, this is the society in which we live. How can we change it?
Is there anything different you can do as a parent to better equip your children for the future and to help them manage their present?
Have you heard about the fellow who drowned waiting to be rescued? He was sitting on the roof of his home, surrounded by flood waters.
A rescue boat came by to get him but he refused to get in. He said “God is going to rescue me.”
A helicopter came to save him, he refused to go. He said “God is going to rescue me.”
When he entered into the gates of Heaven, he asked God why did you let me drown? God said, I sent a boat and a helicopter, you refused.
Are you at a place in your life where you can learn from other people’s mistakes or do you still need to continue to make your own, like the man on the roof?
You only get one chance to raise each of your children. The decisions you make are not only vitally important to the safety, security, education and future of your child but to our society as a whole. Your children are our future.
Certainly there are a number of contributing factors which influence our daily lives and how we choose to live them in the process of raising our children. Some of these factors you may not have complete control over, others you do.
Single Parent & Two Parent Homes
Single or Two parent homes is not only a tough one to discuss but also probably the most important issue of parenting. All children benefit from being raised in two parent homes. Studies show that children being raised in an intact family benefit in many ways including cognitively, emotionally and socially.
Couples, with children, considering divorce need to make absolutely every exhaustive effort to make their marriage work. Am I saying, do it for the children? Yes, but for yourselves as well. Don’t make selfish decisions.
We are no longer a forgiving society. People are tried and convicted by the media for any little slip of the tongue which has created a culture of unforgiveness in our society. Celebrity divorces are glamorized by the media which influences our societal norms.
Make your own decisions about forgiveness without regard to whether or not it would be a popular decision amongst your friends and relatives. My #1 Advise to newlyweds is “Keep your problems away from your family and friends” When you tell all of your business about how your spouse made you angry because of this or that to everyone, they will remember that as a negative thing about your spouse. When you have moved on, they have not.
Food for Thought
- All marriages will not survive and some should not.
- Single parenting does not destroy children, poor parenting will though.
- It is possible to co-parent effectively after divorce.
Have you considered the benefits of moving to a rural area or the suburbs? Some of the benefits include; smaller schools, less traffic, simpler pace of life, cleaner air, more outdoor recreation, and more quality time with family. While children may complain that there isn’t much to do in a rural area, that is exactly why you may want to consider moving there! There is, in fact plenty to do in rural areas, it is just overtly different from the inner city or suburbia which may be the change your family needs.
Food for Thought
- Depending on what part of the country you live in, the suburbs may be an option for moving away from the inner city.
- Maybe you need to consider moving to another city altogether.
- Moving is an expensive process but it may be one that you need to consider very seriously for the sake of your children.
3 Things to Consider When Searching for a New Neighborhood
- Drive around and look for graffiti, abandoned homes, Beware of Dog signs and broken windows
- Does it look like a safe area to go walking or for your children to play outside
- Contact the local police department for crime rates and public involvement in crime prevention
Practice Your Faith
If you want your children to believe in God, take them to church and practice your faith actively. Don’t send your children to church, take them there. Let them see you practice the faith you are preaching to them. Become part of a faith based fellowship group where you can reinforce your belief’s regularly. Most churches have activity groups for teens and younger children.
If you are not part of a church, ask your friends and family to recommend one.
Television, movies, internet and video games are huge negative influences on our children. Television was not invented as an electronic babysitter. Do not allow yourself to rely heavily on electronic devises as babysitters.
Gone are the days of programs like Andy Griffith when every episode had a moral to the story. Thankfully Andy lives on in syndication! This is one program I consider safe viewing for the grandchildren. What are your children watching on television?
Movies with nothing but people killing other people, no matter the reason, are never a good thing for our children to watch. This culture of glamorizing violence began at the movies. Movies are created not solely for entertainment, but to create a profit. How can society profit from the destructive behavior taught on movie screens?
Can you name the last 3 movies your teenager saw?
Internet time should be limited for all children. Never allow your children to have their computer located in their bedroom behind closed doors. You simply must be aware of what your children are viewing on the internet. Be sure to use parental settings on any computer in the home prior to allowing your children access.
Video games have come a long way since the original Pong! Car theft is glamorized, fighting and killing is glamorized. Are you completely aware of what the games are about that your children are playing. For more information please see the link for Common Sense Media under Parenting Resources at the bottom of this article.
Make Tough Choices About Your Child’s Education Location
Providing the opportunity for your children to attend a better school should be at the top of your priority list. That may mean moving to another part of town or another city. It may mean considering private schools or homeschool.
Your budget will help decide for you if that small private school where the student/teacher ratio is more acceptable is an option.
Even if you did or do send your child(ren) to private school, you are still responsible for making yourself knowledgeable about what is going on daily in their lives. Private school in and of itself is not a protector.
Bad things can happen in any environment where you do not have complete control
If your children attend public school or private school, become a volunteer. There are a multitude of different ways a parent can volunteer.
Homeschooling is also not an option for everyone. Homeschooling in a commitment which you will be entrenched in for many years. Is it the best decision for your children?
Things to Consider About Homeschooling
- What is my reason for considering homeschooling?
- Time commitment? Time constraints will occur as you plan and prepare the lessons, not just during the lessons
- Is your child willing?
- Finances. You will have financial commitments for the literature, testing, field trips with home school association, association fee’s and more.
- Am I qualified to teach my own children. There is No better teacher for your children than YOU! If you can read and write, you can follow the home school curriculum
For more things to consider about homeschooling, go here.
Homeschooling is a huge decision, not to be taken lightly. Private school is an easier decision because it is influenced by finances. Moving to a better school neighborhood will also be influenced by finances.
We must make decisions based on what is best not just for the moment but for the future as well
- Ask your children open ended questions, every day to show them you care about their day. Be prepared to listen. Go here for a list of 10 Questions to Ask Your Child About His Day at School
- Six ideas for starting conversations with reluctant teens can be found here
- Make yourself available to your children.
- Do not make negative comments about the other parent in the children’s presence
- Share the evening meal together. This is conversation time.
- Be a good listener. Reserve your comments until the end of the story!
- Do not jump to quick ‘parental’ judgment, hold that shocked look until you are alone
- Don’t send your children places, take them there
- Allow your children to have their friends over so you can get to know them
- Create opportunities for each child to get to do that thing they keep asking to do
- Turn off the t.v. and the computer and have undistracted family time
- Play with your children
- Support your children in extracurricular activities, go there and watch!
- The Center for Parenting Education (a 501(c)(3) non-profit offering free/paid online interactive workshops as well as in person workshops and much more)
- Healthychildren.org , a site by the American Academy of Pediatrics
- Parent Toolkit, providing tips and guides for every stage of a child’s development including academically and socially
- Kids Health, info for parents, kids, teens and educators. Cyberbullying and other tough topics covered here.
- Common Sense Media, a great source for guidance about current media including, movies, tv, ap’s, games and more
Will you be assured that your children will grow up to be the leaders of our future if you provide the very best parenting? We have to wait for their life story to unfold. However, you will know that you have equipped your children to be their very best when you provide the best joint parenting possible in your situation, with opportunities for a good education, the choice to practice their faith, less exposure to violence and immorality through media and lots of parental involvement and support for their social, mental and academic development.
Parents make sacrifices. Parents make tough decisions. Of course you are going to make some mistakes. Please let those be the small mistakes, not like the guy who drowned after God had sent the answer to him multiple times.
What sacrifices are you making to ensure your children’s future and the future of society?
Proverbs 22:6 states; Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
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