Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The best gift for your kids: responsibility

Last week my wife sent me a link to a column, The best gift for your kids: responsibility, Patricia Dalton. I only got around to reading it today. It is a great column. It was first published in the Washington Post, and then in the San Jose Mercury.

Patricia is a clinical psychologist in Washington. She says that many children are learning to make excuses for everything: "Evasive attitudes are learned, refined and reinforced in the home. Ultimately, people become so divorced from the impact of their actions that they freely take advantage of others."

I also thought this was a good point: "What is striking today is the number of parents who seem uncomfortable with teaching their children. They let the culture do it and hope for the best. Some even side with their children against authorities."

At some point learning to read and write is very important; however, if the child grows up with a bad heart, then the parents have failed. Louis L'Amour made a comment in one of his book about the value of education. Someone had taken pity on a criminal who had been in and out of jail since the man was fifteen. Finally at thirty the man was given a first class education, went into forgery and was serving ten to twenty years in jail. The education hadn't changed the heart.

As parents we need to provide the basics to our children, so they can stay alive. We have a responsibility to provide them with an education, so they can function in our highly technical world. But the most important thing we may do as parents is to help our children develop a good heart, and a good character. As homeschoolers we have more of a chance to work with our children and give them constant, useful feedback.

Patricia Dalton makes a number of good points. If you need any reason to be strong and make the extra effort to how your children be honest, work hard, and be responsible, go check out her column.

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