I’ve come to the realization that raising children is much like training animals.There are times you have to hold on to the lead rope and teach them to respect authority and then again there are times to let the go, free of the halter to run and kick up their heels for a bit.
I’ll be completely honest with you here. We were strict parents in many respects. We taught the boys if they wanted any priveleges they would come with more responsibility. I’m not sure they realized other kids didn’t have the same responsibilites they did at the young ages they did, but we made sure to give them more priveleges. If we hadn’t, I’m pretty sure they would’ve rebelled a bit. We’ve been blessed that God guided us in parenting our children. We’ve been blessed that they had excellent Sunday school teacher, kid’s group leader, youth group leaders and pastors who backed up what we were teaching them. That consistent message of accountability produced young men who understand that giving and keeping their word is of utmost importance. That working hard and following the rules pay off with rewards. Rewards that began as little freedoms…..staying up later, a cell phone when they graduated 8th grade. Little freedoms that built trust between us as parents and them as our children.
When we break calves it’s much the same process. We have to keep the halter on them for a while until they learn some respect. When we see that they’ve learned a little respect and trust us a little, we’re able to take the halter off and give them a few hours of freedom. They usually respond so much better after we give them a little freedom to the training process. And you know, that’s how it was with our sons.