What is Your Child’s Job Description?

by Keith McCurdy

If you had to write a “kid job description” what would you write?  I was actually asked this question recently…and it is a fabulous one.  So much of the time we focus on what parents are to be doing in raising our children that we forget or miss what the eventual goal is.  A good job description should encompass the eventual goal of where we would like our children to be.  In other words, if we are training our children, what are we training them for?

I often ask parents what their child’s number one job is.  I get many different answers; to have fun, to be respectful, to be obedient, and to embrace life… but one always reigns supreme, school.  It sounds good.  I hear it repeated by teachers and see it written in articles all the time.  It is such a clear message that whenever I ask a kid what their main job is, I almost exclusively hear “school.”  When I ask why, I am told that they know it is their job because it is what their parents pay the most attention to or fuss at them the most about.  It is easy to see that a child’s success in school is believed by most today to be the best determining factor in their later success in life.  I would tend to disagree.

I would argue that success in life is based more on the development of the “whole” child in such a way that they are able to manage and cope with whatever the world throws at them.  School only deals with part of this and does not prepare our children for when they graduate with a 4.0 from college and can’t find a job.  At this point a young adult has to face the reality that success in school does not always mean success later in life.   At this point many young adults have a wakeup call from reality…..and move back in with their parents.

If I had to write a “job description” for a kid, and all parents do, I would suggest this; to be a contributing member of the family so as to prepare them to be a contributing member of society.  How a child is trained to function in their family is the best incubator for life as an adult.  This is not a new concept.  It is only in the last 50 years or so that we have been distracted from that goal by many things, mostly good things, but distracted nonetheless.

As a society we have regularly put things in front of the family: sports, academics, clubs, technology, peers, money, hobbies, etc.  When we don’t help a child to be a contributing member of a family first, they will not have what they need to be able to handle success or failure in any of these other areas.   A quick look at headlines regarding college and professional athletes over the last few years demonstrates this. We equip young men to be unbelievable players, without the self-discipline to manage their lives or make good decisions.

When we train our kids to be contributing members of a family first, they learn the elements of success in life.  They learn to think of others before themselves,  to follow  good leadership, communicate and negotiate effectively,  handle the word “no,” be responsible, deal with frustration, manage their temper, that being happy is not a goal, suffering is not necessarily bad or permanent, and how you treat others is a better indicator of your character than any of your achievements. When we tell a child that they are going to miss soccer practice because of their attitude with us, even though they are the star player and the team depends on them and…blah, blah, blah, they begin to realize what is most important.

It is a tough struggle to be counter-culture, but it is our job.  Remember, we are not “of the world.”  We don’t like being the “bad guys” as many put it when we have to step up and teach these lessons, but we will reap the rewards in the successful lives of our children.  So, ask yourself, “What job description have I given my child”?

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  1. Keith McCurdy I have a question toward your well written and Christian valued “not of this world” article. With all the direct Tea Party and GOP leadership agendia that allows for the insolvency of our country (against the 14th amendment) and works for the failure of its’ historic president, how would you advise the perents of today to teach there children abolitionism,moral, and just values that even our court system could adopt?

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