Giving My Children a Better Life Than I Had?
It is said that every generation wants to give their children a better life than they had.
What this usually means is that the parents want their children to have a more material resources, opportunities, or money. Essentially, every generation wants the next to move up the social/class ladder.
I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with this, but to be honest I wouldn’t mind one bit if my children ended up in the exact same economic class as we did. If they do better, fine. But, we always had food and shelter and a little bit of extra cash here and there. I want them to be productive citizens and do the best they can. But there is one sense in which I want give my children a better life than I had.
I want my children to mature, more quickly, into a better person than I did.
My parents did the best they knew how. In fact, when I think of my childhood I think it was pretty good. I have many fond memories and was spared a lot of trouble in life from my parents instilling values in me and teaching me about God.
But I wasted a lot of time. My growing up took too long. I meandered. I was arrogant. I was into my late 20s before I began to have a real plan and in my 30s before I started really working toward it. If that sounds familiar to you, I wouldn’t be surprised. As a child of the 80s, this is my entire generation. The one that was provided for more than any one before it. And now the one that, as a whole, feels more lost than those previous.
I don’t know what the answer for society as a whole is. But for my children, I want them to develop long attention spans. I want them to see entertainment as a treat, not the main course. I want them to value music too much to mindlessly play it in the background all day. I want them to know how to think well enough to see for themselves that most of pop culture isn’t worth the time most people make for it in their lives.
I want them to know logic. I want them to know compassion. I want them to know a bad argument when they hear it, and admit a good one even if they don’t agree with the one making it. I want them to experience the joy of getting good at something. Of finishing something they started after pushing through when they didn’t want to. I want them to have long term goals and make little efforts toward them every day. I want them to see me doing the same.
I want them to know God. I want them to know the reasons we believe in God, and the reasons others give for not. I don’t want them to be insulated from bad ideas. I want them to be inoculated against them.
I’m pretty confident that if we focus on these, the rest will take care of itself.