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Who needs rules?


After a heated discussion this week with my ex-husband on the need to limit the amount of TV my girls watch, I felt that I needed to further elaborate on why I feel the way I do. I have some pretty definite guidelines set for the kids (though still not as strict as other families I know), and I am constantly reminding the kids that it is for their best interest. You've no doubt heard that before, probably from your own parents. But what is their best interest? How do I determine that?

I wrote a letter to the girls' dad, expressing my thoughts on this matter. In it, I explained why I limit their TV watching to just a few certain shows; why their free time activities (such as computer time, video games, etc.) are limited, and why I even set limits on who their friends are and how much time they spend "hanging out" with them.

When I make rules about what the girls can see on TV, music they can listen to, and books they can read (and even where they attend school), it is not because I like to make rules and restrictions. I have only so much time to teach and train them during their childhood. Whatever goes into their minds during these years will always be with them. And, it will affect the rest of their lives, who they are, what they do, how they make decisions; their whole worldview.

What I want for their future is a life of greatness, not mediocrity. The way to greatness cannot be achieved by traveling the path of the average. So much of our society is fixated on the present, the meaningless. I grieve to see kids wasting their time on hours of text messages, video games, mindless (and stupid) TV shows, and "hanging out" when there is so much more to life. Of course, I don't mind video games, some TV, and friends; but I also want the kids to experience rich literature, positive images and role models, stories of great heroes (past and present), the great outdoors, working with their hands, contentment, and learning to converse with anyone of any age.

There are things that they will experience in their lives that I will not wish for; but I want to fill their minds and their days with the most rewarding, helpful, positive influences they can have. I want them to have more wisdom than trivia. I want to prepare them for the unpleasant in a gentle and wise manner. That's why I feel so strongly about some forms of entertainment. When the mind is filled with dark, evil, or scary images on a regular basis, you begin to think along those lines. What you think, you become. I don't think I want to raise girls who are dark and depressed. I'd much rather raise girls who are bright, pleasant, and wise.

Sure, there will be many unpleasantries along the way (such as divorce) but they stand a much better chance of rising above the hard times when they have so much goodness to draw from.

I feel so strongly about this. Children are a blessing, but they are also a responsibility. What will we do with these little lives God has entrusted to us? Will we just feed and clothe them for 18 years and send them on their merry way, hoping that they can figure out what to do from there? Or will we equip them with the tools to live a rich, purpose-filled life, living their lives in service to God and as a blessing to others?

This has been very heavy on my mind the past few days, so I will be posting more thoughts on this soon. As I plan our homeschool year and think about responsibilities and character issues, I have been looking at the "big picture" to see what will be necessary for my kids to learn as I prepare them for their futures.

You wouldn't go shopping without a list, or build a house without blueprints, or make a pie without a recipe. Why would you raise children without a plan?


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