Parenting Should be Aimed Beyond Your Kids

We have a interesting, funny, and thought provoking tweet I want to read for you here and then get Jeremy’s thoughts. But the idea here is that parenting should be aimed beyond your kids, a longer farther vision than just the children you might have right now. And this tweet I think sums it up brilliantly and the impact of how this thinking actually matters and what it actually does. And it was a tweet Jeremy found on Reddit of all places. Reddit’s the best, but you can find some real funky stuff on there. Even though I do love it too.

Is a customer today told me, if you raise your children, you can spoil your grandkids. But if you spoil your children, you’ll have to raise your grandkids. And then the person who tweeted said, “I think that I found the secret to life because everything makes sense now.” But man, is that true? Man, that’s a really concise but awesome way to put it. But yeah, what are your thoughts there?

Yeah, I don’t think, this is not common wisdom. And this is one of the reasons why when I saw this trending on Reddit, I was like, “Wow, this is such, this is biblical wisdom.” The essence of wisdom in family life is aiming at a future generation. And this is really tricky. And again, this is so counterintuitive for our culture. We are obsessed with our own kids and what they represent. And as soon as you say, “I want to build a multi-generational family,” if you go ahead and pour everything into your children, there are all kinds of sort of subtle ways in which you’ll be tempted to spoil them, indulge their individuality. Go ahead and sort of paper over serious character flaws. Because you’ll be so interested and invested in their own happiness.

But contrast that with what if you were aiming your parenting of your children at your grandchildren. And this is the way ancient people did it. They were very concerned about the small character flaws that were emerging in their children. Because they saw those as being a beginning of a ripple effect that would impact their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren. So the primary way that they would think about parenting their children is that they would be raising up people who would be amazing parents of their grandchildren.

We don’t think about that a lot. I love the fact that this sort of wisdom just sort of popped out of nowhere. And the way that this was phrased. I think it was brilliant. And so it’s important to aim your parenting at your grandchildren, so that you do not inadvertently create a terminal generation. It’s very easy to do that. It’s very easy to really think, ‘Well, as long as my children are happy.” And what you’re doing in that process of spoiling your kids in subtle ways is you are heaping problems onto your future grandchildren if you have them.

So I would really highly advise you guys to think about when you’re watching things start to play out in the lives of your children, really take a step back and think about how will that impact my grandkids.

Yeah, and the one thing that I think of that I think is, is everyone wants a bigger story than themselves. Even though we don’t immediately crave that. We immediately crave pleasure, or consumption, or being spoiled. But when you actually do give someone a bigger vision and a bigger story, even though it might be difficult to enter into that or walk that path, it then starts to actually give you that feedback loop of like, “Oh, this is what I was created for.” And I think giving your children a vision beyond just like I’m raising you to just consume. And that’s another way to put it, too.

I think, we need to understand the water we’re swimming in. And there was actually a revolution of sorts and very much a categorical, societal difference a couple hundred years ago, that totally turned us towards consumption minded humans, that just was never seen before in all of human history. And I think this plays out really poorly in the family dynamic. Because we were almost discipling and raising and teaching little consumption vehicles. Like just teaching them and training them to consume more, to absorb more, to take more. And if we’re really good parents in that dynamic, then they’re better at it, they’re better at the monopoly game of consuming, and engaging, and getting it all for them, and getting the boat, and the jet ski, and the lake house. And they’re more aggressive in that sense of the survival of the fittest.

But that’s like either way to me, those are a failure. It’s not that one success and that one’s failure. It’s to me that’s just one is better at consuming than the other, right? In a more aggressive territorial way. But we’re not called to consume, we’re called to create, which is in some level a service. And for us to continually build that DNA, you have to put that in the first generation below you, of we are called and on mission to serve, and to create, and to reign and rule. Which is different than just consuming it for your own devices or pleasure. And that’s a big, big difference.

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