Generation Cedar

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I think I finally agree with the feminists that raising children is a terrible waste of time. After all, anyone really can do it. So why not let a paid day care worker handle the messes, settle the squabbling, feed the babies, change the diapers and keep them happy so you can do something meaningful, contributing to society?

Few will come right out and say it like that, but they should. Why aren’t we being honest?

Motherhood isn’t treated like an important position-like a profession, because raising children isn’t important. And I agree.

In fact, raising children isn’t just unimportant, it’s exceedingly destructive.

What we should be doing is raising men and women. That’s real parenting. And that’s where we’ve missed it. Tragically. Monumentally. Ignorantly.

No one wants to raise children–and who can blame them? Raising children is cleaning up messes and never getting help. It’s settling squabbles and never seeing change. It’s changing diapers and laundry and preparing more food but it’s never more than that. It’s continually sacrificing for the needs of others with no reciprocating sacrifice and no reward. So we either hire someone else to do it, or we grit our teeth and suffer through it.

Now we have a crisis: a society raising children while few want to do the hard, but incredible work of raising people. Adults who will take our place as cogs in the wheel of life. Do you want to contribute to society? Every other profession pales in comparison to your contribution of raising men and women. Because everything depends on who we bring up to carry out life in the next generation. Everything.

We got so short-sighted. In our world of instagram, instant news and instant gratification, we stopped raising people because people take time and sacrifice and work.  But maybe more than that, we lost our ability to look past today and saw just a child with demanding physical needs, and forgot his becoming a person–a person of strength and courage and wisdom and love and compassion (if that’s what we put into him)–and how much that involved and how much it takes mothers and fathers and family pouring into the life of another person to ensure that he really becomes a whole person.

Instead, we have generations of people who grew up and remained children. Adult-children who get mad and have never learned how to handle anger or love their enemies and so they walk into companies and open fire at their “play mates” that hurt them.

Adult-children who blame everyone but themselves when things go wrong, and who fully expect the government to fix all their problems because no one ever taught them how to handle life and difficulty and change. They never learned to take responsibility for their actions, and believe they deserve whatever they want.They were given everything except the few things they really needed so now they borrow money to get the things to fill the void.

We’re surrounded by grown-up-children who never learned to be content with simple things, to find satisfaction in hard work and enjoy the crowning sunset at the end of a long day.

We have adult-children who are having their own children and they don’t like them because raising children is frustrating and this cycle spins at dizzying speed and we are all paying the price.

Oh that we would find our love and zeal and passion for raising people!

Do you know perhaps the most tragic part of all? Since we don’t see past this temporal busy-work that goes along side of raising children into people, children themselves have lost their worth. We don’t value children because we don’t value the process of raising them into whole men and women.

But there’s hope. Change starts with you and me. It’s easy even for those of us who do value the work of motherhood to get short-sighted and forget to see the men and women in the faces of our children. It’s easy to forget the shaping of lives that goes on in the midst of daily life, the lessons learned at a thousand places in the day. Anyone can raise children, but only committed, devoted, my-life-for-yours parents can raise people who will contribute significantly to the human race.

And then we can rally around other young parents and remind them of the life-work of pouring into the next generation for all of our sakes.

The monumental happens in the minutia. Raise people.

(If you need to renew your vision, get When Motherhood Feels Too Hard. Short, daily snippets of powerful reminders of what this business of raising men and women is about in the dailyness of life.)

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38 Responses

  1. Love this: “The monumental happens in the minutia. Raise people.”

    This parenting job isn’t cute, it’s deep-battle stuff. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. I was just thinking something very similar to this today. I was working on the laundry and had two working on grammar while another needed some sleep and I thought “How many times has someone called you a ‘woman’? And it dawned on me then, some of the issues I’m praying over come back to me being a woman and not a girl. We are raising women and men. We have children now and need to have appropriate expectations, but also a vision for the future and how to fulfill that vision of raising men and women for the glory of God.

  3. We raised four children who all walk in Truth. Our 29 year old son told my husband and me today that we were continually and constantly teaching, training and correcting them when they were growing up. He says most people aren’t use to that. Their parents weren’t so involved in their lives. They wanted their children to learn from their mistakes. We wanted our children to walk with Jesus and know His ways from the time they were born so they wouldn’t make mistakes they later lived to regret. It took a ton of time and patience but the pay-off was well worth it…four godly offspring.

    1. Opening sentence: “We raised four children who all walk in Truth.”

      Concluding sentence: “It took a ton of time and patience but the pay-off was well worth it…four godly offspring.”

      Your offspring all walking in truth is entirely God’s doing, and none of yours or any other’s doing.

      Your whole post, though, Lori, like numerous others you’ve written on this blog over the years, is about wonderful things you did, and supposed bad things you didn’t do, and look! our children are all godly.

      I find that attitude arrogant, not to mention unbiblical.

      We have a duty to, for one thing, expose our children to Truth, but we cannot cause them to walk in that Truth. If they do, God and only God wrought that beautiful reality.

      Please don’t give the impression to young parents reading here that parental choices (like yours?) make godly offspring who walk in Truth. A post prefaced and concluded in the manner you did, between which were statements either describing the wonderful choices you made or tsk-tsking others’ different parental choices, takes Christ out of the picture and puts you in the spotlight.

      Topic sentence; supporting statements; conclusion/reiteration of topic theme. My children all walk in truth, and here’s why… is the impression your post construct gives, whether you’re aware of it or not.

      It’s happened too many times, and so I’m calling it out now. Please be more careful.

      To God be ALL the glory.

      1. It’s not an either/or. It’s a both/and. God has established MEANS for accomplishing His work. He can — and sometimes does — operate outside of that, but it isn’t His norm. Normally, the causes He’s called us to produce the effects He’s promised, and the causes He’s called us away from produce the effects we don’t want. It is OKAY to acknowledge that we’ve been faithful and we’ve seen fruit.

        I liken it to a plane trip. If you’re in FL and you want your child to end up in Maine, you put him on a plane headed for Maine, not one headed for California…because the ordinary expectation is that a plane headed for Maine will end up in Maine and a plane headed for California will end up in California.

        Is it a guarantee? Nope. There could be a storm or a technical malfunction or a terrorist threat that grounds or reroutes the plane. And if there were an impending hurricane or out-of-control forest fire, you might just have to stick your child on a plane — any plane — and pray for safety and provision. But it would be the height of foolishness to go, “well, I want my kid to end up in Maine so I think I’ll put him on the plane to California.” And it would be silly to think that our choosing the Maine-bound plane had nothing to do with their ending up in Maine.

        God did not tell parents to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord because what we do has absolutely no bearing on the outcome.

        I get your concern — I’ve seen Lori post a lot of skewed things before. But in this case, there’s nothing wrong with her comment, but YOURS is unbalanced.

        1. From 6 arrows:

          Salvation is not a “both/and” — both God and man working together to secure eternal salvation for our children or anyone else. That was my whole point: that a professing Christian should be careful not to imply that someone is walking in truth (is saved) because of human action.

          If that makes my comment unbalanced because I’m solely focusing on the truth that in Christ alone is found our salvation, then so be it.

  4. I’m reminded of what the late Larry Burkett used to say: “You’re not raising children; you’re raising future adults.”

  5. Thank you for sharing this observation. When I was growing up there was no confusion as to who the adults and children were, but the lines do seem to be increasingly blurred as time goes on. Raising adults, and modeling responsible adulthood, are good goals for all of us. You’ve provided a well thought out post addressing the trend of eternal adolescence.

  6. Thank you so much for these words. I write from the regional town of Coffs Harbour on the mid-north coast of New South Wales in Australia and i can tell you, there is as much in truth in what you write here, as from where you reside.

    It is a timely reminder that the real courage required today is to turn our children into the very people we most aspire to be. To do that we must step up and take responsibility by turning up everyday for our “adults-to-be.” Rudolf Steiner said that “to be worthy of imitation” is the role of parents and teachers and I think this is a good daily motto.

  7. Beautifully written, Kelly!

    Another great reminder to keep our eyes looking up! Let’s gird ourselves with His truth today, ladies!

  8. Good words for those in the battle, but very hard and painful words for those of us who read this too late. My kids are grown and I didn’t do as good of a job as I could have. It haunts me every night I put my head on my pillow.

    1. Becky,

      And then, there is grace. And a whole lifetime of continuing to pour into your children and especially your grandchildren (and anyone else the Lord places in your life).

  9. It’s not that it’s a waste of time. It’s that your just not as qualified to do it as someone who is currently taking two years of early childhood development at the community college.

    1. Lucy,

      No, it is a waste of time. 😉 Although I get your point (said in sarcasm, I suspect), the point is still that we don’t need to be raising children at all, but men and women.

  10. Such good advice and while i do agree with the majority of what was said, may i take a moment to encourage all the mums out there, who perhaps like me, you do love the Lord, you’ve spent hours in prayer over your child, you’ve done all you can do to love, correct and discipline to be best of your ability and yet, your child hasnt grown to be person you had hoped for them to be. Sometimes we can do all the right things and then there continues a journey of faith that God had good plans for our kids regardless of the poor choices they may make as an adult. Dont loose hope, know that we have a loving and mighty God who will accomplish His purpose in your life and in the life of your son/ daughter.

  11. GGGRRRRR What has feminism got to do with this article? Feminist don’t say raising children is a terrible waste of time. Feminism is not to blame for lack of parenting. That has come about because women can no longer afford to stay home and raise their children. I am sick of tired of women who don’t know what feminism means. I can excuse the men because they are not women but I get real agitated at the self hatred I see coming from some women. Especially because they are indoctrinated and they don’t even realize it.

    1. The article I linked to might help answer “what has feminism got to do with it.” I know what feminism means, but I also know there are all different layers of it and while there are some good intentions (I’m a feminist if feminism means declaring that women are valuable) the roots of feminism/marxism go deep and heavily affect the value of family and children.

      1. It is only human childhood that takes ridiculous amount of time in the animal world, and it is the biggest waste of time. Look at other animals how fast they grow, develop and take care of themselves. So it is a bit of a joke how we view raising children the main goal of our lifes, what if this would only take a couple of months? What would you people argue about, how would woman feel? What would the concept of family mean? It would sure be better for the economy. I say doctors should be working on speeding up childhood and let’s not make raising children our first most important goal in life!

  12. I love this, thank you for the post.

    Committed mothers…as in, the female parent. Not the focus, but a beautiful and sage truth nonetheless.

    To the person who quoted Larry Burkett–boy I loved him and remember him saying that. Such a great teacher…

  13. Powerful words, Kelly. Rereading this in the wake of the Stanford rape case really brings it home for me. What would have happened if Brock’s parents had purposes to raise a man instead of a boy?

  14. ” I think I finally agree with the feminists that raising children is a terrible waste of time. ”

    First off, I have no idea where the hell you pulled that from! Talk about making a sweeping statement. Feminists are not a monolith. You think feminists aren’t mothers too? Chimamanda Adiche, even Jessica Valenti who wrote a book on this topic – both feminists, both mothers. They’re the ones fighting to make sure you can have more maternity leave, or your partner can have paternity leave if you decide to go back to work for one. Stuff like that makes Christians look terrible.

    Just because I as a feminist criticise traditional social norms does not mean I am against mothers or motherhood. I’m simply against a culture that dictates that’s all women should be and that’s where our worth is measured. It is hugely offensive to tell a woman all she is worth is her womb. For one, what if she is infertile? We should, as you have done in your article, debate these things.

    I would like for women to be supported as mothers if they make that choice, or to be seen as full human beings if they choose not to be mothers and to know that they don’t have to be mothers at all. Without a doubt we need to have a more open conversation about motherhood. One only has to Google ‘I regret becoming a mum’ or ‘I hate my baby’ to see a lot of women regret their choice….

    I for one, do not want children, feminism didn’t play a role in that choice.

    1. Oh and by the way, the article you linked to…the author actually came out and said it was an experiment. In fact, she wrote 2 other articles under different names critising the original article. Just so you know. The article was never real.

    2. Amy of course I know there are feminists who are also mothers. And of course I know there are different brands of feminism and not all feminists have the same exact belief system.

      I HAVE studied feminism long enough to know, however, that there is definitely an army of feminists who openly admit that women do feminism a disservice when they “waste” their rights by choosing to be homemakers and mothers. I can’t remember an article where I read this a few years ago or I would put it here.

      I also know the majority of feminists abhor the idea that a mother is better equipped than anyone else to care for her child, and they generally do not recognize homemaking as an important career.

      Yes, largely, motherhood has been marginalized, not just among feminists and that’s what this article is about. And why can’t I use provocative titles/hooks like everyone else? 🙂

  15. Patricia says: ” When I was growing up there was no confusion as to who the adults and children were, but the lines do seem to be increasingly blurred as time goes on. ”

    Indeed. We used to raise children to leave childhood and become adults.

    Now we raise them to simply take over and push out the adults who were before them. Thus we now have legions of “men” who are still playing video games all evening while their own children are babysat by the boob tube. We now have a culture of perpetual childhood. Instead of “putting away childish things”, the new norm is to simply add adult privileges to childish people.

  16. Well, this article seems to have ruffled a lot of selfish feathers…in readers who missed the entire point.

    Perhaps if the avid feminists would like to be better perceived, they should start by conveying the idea that they’re able and willing to READ the thing they’re responding to before responding?

    I wholeheartedly agree with the post. And I think it’s telling that the political leaning least associated with traditional parenting choices is also the one most associated with entitlement and unwillingness or inability to take responsibility for caring for themselves. I don’t need my government to be my mommy beause I was brought up to take care of myself (and my own).

  17. Parents are weak and pathetic these days. Trying to be their kids buddy instead of their boss..thanks to all the pansy-ass liberal minded spoiled babies. Weak men, women thinking they’re the boss, disgraceful all around.

  18. Wow, Americans are super extremist. If feminists were hating children then there would only be about a fifth of women that are feminists. Being pro equality isn’t the issue. Maybe we should concentrate more on deadbeat runaway fathers facing consequences instead of always blaming women.

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