Generation Cedar

I spend a lot of time puzzling over why children have become so devalued in our culture. Why is it so easy for mothers to drop off their infants with a stranger to raise for the better part of the day? What is the enormous pull of career over raising children? Why are mothers so exasperated with one or two children?

Of course lots of reasons come in to play, but I think the greatest reason is lack of vision. “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. And “the people”, I’m afraid, begins with our children, and then trickles down to the perishing of the whole nation. What vision do we lack? The long-term vision of the importance of raising up children into God-fearing, serving adults.

Raising children is a slow, patient process, where immediate rewards and gratification is not often the results. It’s easier to go to the office each day, and receive my pats on the back for a job well done. When I taught school, I was constantly being rewarded for “making a difference in the lives of the children”. Thank you notes, brief conversations with grateful parents, a pat on the back from my employer–it fed the human desire to be good at something.

The daily raising of children is a much different kind of work, where Mom must be content to wait for much of the fruition of her labor. And yet, if she embraces the vision that these little ones are grown ups waiting to happen, that every word and every minute she spends pouring into their lives will have life-changing effects, her job begins to be full of joy. I think most mothers believe that being a good mother means seeing to it that their children are physically taken care of–it doesn’t really matter who does it. If they can find a responsible, caring day care worker, or relative, who takes care of the child’s physical needs, they feel good about leaving them behind. And if the care-taker teaches them to count while she’s at it, well, Mom has really done her homework and, perhaps, is even a step ahead.

Raising “healthy” children is mainly about building strong relationships between parent and child–a condition that is virtually absent in most American homes. Because building strong relationships doesn’t just happen because you live in the same house. It happens because from the time he is an infant, Mother is smiling at him, Mother is listening and talking to him, and Mother is saying with her every action that he is important.

It is by watching Mother’s responses that he learns so much about relating to people and circumstances; it is primarily her devotion to him that allows him to grow up feeling secure and loved. It is the constant, dailyness of routine that gives him comfort, and allows hime to flourish as an individual. Mother’s work is the hardest of all…but, I believe, it is the most influential work any human has ever done.

What do we expect when we look around and see the devastation that is our American youth? You can’t throw an acorn on the ground and expect it to instantly sprout into a strong oak tree. That acorn has got to be nourished and fed underground for a long time before it can flourish for others to see. No one sees all the important first beginnings of that acorn…but it is crucial for a healthy tree.

Oh, what will it take to turn the tide again and see value placed upon the people of the next generation? When will we be willing to sacrifice instant gratification for the long-term, much deeper reward of raising up a secure, responsible, serving army of adults? We will only receive what we have given. “Suffer not the little children to come unto me…for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

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11 Responses

  1. Perishing for lack of vision? No. Perishing for lack of kindness–on your part.

    Your posts are full of unfair generalizations and unsubstantiated claims!

    If you homeschool your children, rarely travel, live in a rural area, and don’t interact with people outside your church-group—should I make unfair generalizations about your lack of education?

    No, that wouldn’t be fair. I could point out all your spelling errors, run-on sentences, and grammatical mistakes in order to undermine your message.

    But that wouldn’t be kind would it?

    But you are fine with attacking working women simply because you believe your message is God-ordained?

    So much of what you write is harsh, severe and unkind. Have you forgotten that is the kindness of God which leads us to repentance?

    The ends do not justify the means!

    You may win the battle of Bible-verses, but you will never win souls with condemnation.

  2. You are certainly welcome to your opinion. You are not the first one to accuse me of being harsh. And, I do realize that in RARE cases, women have no choice but to work outside the home. Those are not the women I’m speaking about in this blog.

    However, most working women I know do not HAVE to work but choose to work. Or rather choose a lifestyle that requires them to work. And as hard as it is to hear it in our culture where working women are not only allowed but encouraged to leave their children behind to go to work, I think it is having devastating effects on our culture. And quite frankly, I don’t know of a nicer way to put it. You may disagree with my conclusion, but it’s still my conclusion.

    I’m not speaking about something I haven’t experienced myself. I saw the devastation in my own family when I taught school, and chose to stop it, even when we couldn’t “afford” it. I can sympathize with any woman who feels locked into a job financially. When someone says to me, “You’re so lucky to be able to stay at home”, it is a grave misunderstanding on their part. I’m not ABLE to stay at home, I choose to, and we make the necessary sacrifices to do so.

    To be quite honest, and I hope not to be too disrespectful, I was the most upset by your comment that referred to my speling errors, run-on sentences, and grammatical mistakes! 🙂 (I have an English degree.) I re-read my post, and I could only find one spelling mistake, and it was a typo, no doubt because I type fast and don’t often proof-read.

    As I said before, I truly don’t mean to be unkind. If you know me, you would know I am a kind person. I don’t mean to hurt people’s feelings. I guess it’s kinda of like trying to save someone who’s drowning. Often the drowning person is in danger of drowning his rescuer, and so the rescuer has to punch him in the face in order to save both their lives. It’s not kind, but it’s the only right thing to do.

    I don’t know another way to express my desperation as I see families all around me reaping the horrible consequences of broken relationships and a lack of training, because no one is home to do it. It seems that no one even notices the negative influence it is having. Do they?

    I would be happy, Elizabeth, for you to simply give me “your side” instead of attacking me. I’ll admit…I am black and white, right or wrong. There is little in between with me, and that is probably to my fault. So please share your heart, and perhaps I can see it differently.

    Thank you for your honesty.

  3. No, the “speling” error was not on purpose 🙂 I guess this disqualifies me from teaching my children!

  4. Ok, so there are a few more grammatical errors I didn’t catch (sorry!) Please note that I think fast, and type fast, and don’t really have the time to proof-read. (I told you it was that comment that bothered me the most 🙂

  5. Elizabeth, is there something attractive about her blog or website that entices you to read more? I think these are very serious issues in our culture today, and they cut to the heart. I am glad that she is posting and providing us a blog.

    Although homeschooling moms are neither walking encyclopedias, nor do they have to be well educated, they do have resources to purchase or borrow for their children’s education. They must ensure that their children do the best that they can to complete the required work and learn at least the essentials like any other child undergoing formal education. Books, videos, and other media can teach much more than the teacher herself can. The teacher is there to administer and monitor, more than to instruct on the technical details.

    I believe that the best and most important education comes from reading God’s word and praying for Him to give us wisdom.

  6. (Warning: some run-ons and grammatical mistakes present…after all it’s just a blog post!)
    We have become so desensitized by the world that when there’s something that challenges us we are immediately offended and dismiss it as ignorant or unfair. Elizabeth…before you type another word, I urge you to pray. Think about what it is that you really find so offensive. I, too, feel badly for the women who have to work so their family can just get by. The ones I don’t agree with are the people who want to take all the trips in the world and want to give their children all sorts of toys and “experiences” that they think they need when they sacrifice time spent with their children. They take them to daycare or school 8 hours a day, 5 days a week so they can have 3 vacations a year. When in fact it’s momma that they need most…not a daycare center, not a school. Please don’t blaze Word Warrior for making you feel uncomfortable. It’s her site, right? If you’re that offended then maybe you should skip it.

  7. I caught a few minutes of APT last night and there was a series about Women and Money. HA! This woman said, “As soon as I found out I was pregnant, my first thoughts were, how can I afford this baby? How am I going to pay for child care and college.”

    So her first 2 thought were about things that were not nessities. Americans trust in the almighty dollar bill. Stuff equals sucess.

    Sad.

    Don’t bother looking for my grammar and spelling mistakes, I know they are there, and I’m not as concerned about them as I am other things in life. Kelly ‘helps’ me with this all the time and I am grateful to her! We all have our callings…lol I bet I could decorate a cake quicker than she can. :o) Ya gotta laugh!

  8. Repentance is to acknowledge sin in our lives and determine turn away from it forever. God does not show us every sin all at once, or else we would be completely devastated. To see our sinfulness makes us uncomfortable, or it should, anyway. That God can make us feel uncomfortable and sad about sin is not unkind or harsh. It has the power to restore, rebuild, and improve. The feeling of forgiveness is overwhelming. There is nothing as wonderful as that, I think! God does put a little fire under me first, before I get to the point of repentance. I think it’s like climbing a ladder, being reminded of one sin at a time. Then sometimes I find myself back near the bottom of the ladder….

    Kelly, thanks for writing from your heart. It is convicting and encouraging, both at the same time. I enjoy reading your posts, and I look forward to reading each new one.

  9. Please don’t let disagreements and false accusations prevent you from proclaiming the truth.

    If you are talking about a trend, you cannot avoid making generalizations. I am not bothered by typos, although I am an English major myself (except in published work). The only thing that bothers me is mixing up “do” and “due” or “its” and “it’s.”

    🙂

    Remember that people will generally only comment if they have something to add. That means those who disagree are far more likely to comment, and there could be dozens of people who, like me, read your blog and say nothing because they think there is nothing more to say.

  10. I realize this post was written almost exactly five years ago, so I’m a little late getting into this conversation. I did want to express that I don’t personally feel any apologies were needed as the article was well written and created a sense of a vision in me to want to be a better mother. I mean what was wrong with it? What was so judgmental that such a fiery and rude response was given? Usually responses like that are provoked when someone feels guilty and frustrated about their own circumstances. They feel like everyone is judging them, when that is actually not the intention at all. Just remember: Jesus didn’t have the best reception to many of things he preached either. They even went as far as to kill him and completely ignored his sound teachings as well as the miracles. And what about Stephen? He was stoned for what he said and the list goes on and on.

  11. YOU ARE RIGHT!!! Keep speaking God’s truth. This is truth. The mamas are missing out on so much when they don’t raise their children…..and we also need “older women” (sometimes that just means “more experienced”) to come alongside these young mamas for support, encouragement, and wisdom. GOD’S WAYS ARE RIGHT!!!!!!!

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