Sunday, August 23, 2009

Raising Cain

No one expects to raise a child like Cain from the bible. You have your children and you are supposed to love them equally but there he is. Looking at his parent and you know what kind of child he is yet instead of many parents doing what they need to with that child, they leave the child for the grandparent, an Aunt, a compassionate neighbor, someone who said they like children, or the public school system; as if they are appropriate parents or have the same kind of love a parent should have for his child.

Children usually will tell you why they are the way they are. They just don't start off being brats. Its taught to them and its acceptable somewhere. So now the child finds where else that behavior is acceptable. And sooner than later he often does.

Maybe its that Cain was assigned the tiller of the soil and he would have much rather been keeping the sheep. No one asked. It was just done. Would that also be true for our children today? Some of us can look at them and just know what they would do well in and some of us have said too much it was wrong. How do we see or know what is the best path for our children? How do we raise responsible adults so they could be happy and we, as parents, can be pleased with the work they are doing?

I was nine years old when my sister was born. I remember babysitting her and teaching her things she had no idea existed. One of those things was being compassionate. She would get angry with me for taking her toy, bawl her little fist up, throw it behind her back for the most power she could muster to hit me for taking what belongs to her. It was hysterical, but I didn't laugh. Instead I let out a huge wail of a cry just to see what her reaction would be. She was surprised and stared for a moment. She put her little hands on her knees to bend down and study the expression on my face and then said quietly, "shh, shut up. Don't cry." Then I pretended to sniffle and look at her. She would pat my face and say again, "shut up." I would ask for a hug and she would ask me afterwards, "better?" I answered, "better," while nodding my head. She sighed in relief looking as if she never knew she could cause such damage. But it was a lesson learned that she maintained all while she was growing up being aware if she hurt anyone and what she could do to make it all better.

As I became an adult and learned about our social environment, I found that being cruel and selfish aren't taught. That seems to come naturally, but compassion is a decision to have and to be cultured for it to be intuitive. But this is one of the things that comes with discipline as one raises a decent human being.

Children don't have much to do. As they get older, a responsible parent gives his children chores while the child is still learning to habitually be hygenic. These chores, as much as they hem and haw in doing them, gives the child a sense of well being. The child is less likely to trash something that he has cleaned on a regular basis. When his friends come to visit, the child will make sure that the house (or his room) is kept in the manner that it was before his friends came in. This would not be true of a child who is allowed every benefit (car, ipod, own cell phone, own computer, and every new electronic device known to man). Why should he? He knows that in time he will get everything he asks for without any effort of his own doing.

My now ex-husband told me a childhood story that left me stunned at the prospects of what the parents of the house would do to their child. The child knew better not to have company over when his parents weren't home but did it anyway. My ex was one of those five boys that came over. When they were all relaxed laughing and joking amongst themselves, one of the boys fell into the diningroom wall and left an impression of his behind in it. He was surprised at first, but then busted into a raucous laughter as with the other boys. But the child who resided there wasn't laughing and started to end the gathering. But the boys were having too much fun and before he knew it, one of them had put his foot in another wall. They were all hysterical with laughter when they all decided to do the same thing. As my ex was telling me this, he could barely contain himself, still laughing at what he had done as a child. I asked, "what did the boy do when his parents got home?" The laugher in the voice of my ex became soured and he was a little annoyed that my question would ruin such a pleasant childhood memory for him, "I don't know," he said with no concern.

Sure that was then, but what I saw was that he was the same little boy who didn't think anything was wrong with it back then and would more than likely have the boys will be boys attitude now. What's happened with this generation? Haven't we learned what to say and not to do from our parents or are we going to disregard all of their experiences. Why do we have to be burned if our parent told us that the stove is hot? Do we really have to see for ourselves? Experience can be the best teacher but it can also get you killed.

So how would one raise Cain to be a responsible, successful adult? Dilligently, affectionately, prayerfully, and if you don't have the patience to do any of those things, professionally. In other words, take Cain to someone who is willing to do what you won't.
(Proverbs 22:6 KJV)