Saturday, June 17

Opinion Saturday

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I saw this quote on a friend's blog last week, and it got me thinking how that quote may relate to parenthood and the guidance we give our children. In the end, of course, their decisions are their own to make. But parents do have a powerful influence. In what direction do you hope to inspire your children? And how might the thought in this quote be put into action to encourage your children to long for that goal?

Hit me with your best thought. I'll take comments until Monday evening, and award the Golden Keyboard on Tuesday morning.


At 6:51 AM, Blogger smart mama said...

You know i always think parenthood is a process of letting go- when they are first born they are dependant on us for most everything- each day they learn more and we release them to their own accountability and opportunities to direct thier lives. I think teaching your children is about in instilling in them powerful truths that they can use to direct their own lives- truths of accountability, love. service, learning

At 7:52 AM, Blogger Meg said...

aghhhh I love this quote.....I think it involves teaching respect and fostering passion. Respect is the only rule we have in our house. We try to teach respect for God, self, each other and things. Out of respect I hope they find passion. With respect and passion you can accomplish anything!

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Barb said...

I thought I'd be past this at this point - My children are 25 and 27 and you're never past it - once a mom, always.....I've always known children are most greatly influenced by their same-sex parent. So you start by BEING the kind of person you hope they'll become. I took this down to the very basics and taught my daughters to live by the golden rule. Simply do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Both my daughters are kind and compassionate. The last thing either one of them would EVER do is intentionally hurt another person. I couldn't be prouder of them.

At 10:16 AM, Blogger ~Jennifer said...

I love the quote. I'd never seen it before, but right away it reminded me of a William Butler Yeats quote around which I tried to build my homeschooling philosophy, "Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire."

So, I try to avoid focusing to heavily on what I think my children should know and instead try to help them discover what they long to know.

I believe God has given each of us talents and gifts, and the longings of our heart are a good indication of where those gifts might lie. So it's important to discover the spark and then it's my job as a parent to help fan the flames.

At 10:38 AM, Blogger B.E.C.K. said...

The biggest thing I try to teach my son is gratitude, because I believe he'll ultimately be happier later if he learns this. It's hard, though, because he goes to his dad's house and gets a new toy every single time, and has come to expect it. I worry that he won't be happy with what he has, or will become spoiled. So I have my work cut out for me, I think, and only time will tell if I'm successful in teaching him to be thankful for what he has (material as well as intangible).

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Grafted Branch said...

I want my children to know the Lord for Who He is; for Who He reveals Himself to be. I want them to know that He loves, He is just, His wrath is to be feared, His mercy is great and His grace is sufficient! I want them to long to think as He thinks, love what He loves, hate what He hates; to be burdened for the lost. It's a work in progress with never-ending epiphanies of faith, but I try to keep from getting bogged down in the cultural, and keep the convictions pure of heart -- His heart.

I hope I never give my children all the "tools" and teach them how to model a pretty Christianity. I want, instead, to whet their appetites for the true bread because He gives life to the starving.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Pfingston said...

I agree with Grafted Branch, my most keen wish and prayer is that the Know God, in the "Abba" way! That he be the hub that their whole exsistance revolves around, that realy makes a differnce in EVERYTHING. Thats the longing I wish for them. Then I wish to impress on them that very little in life depends on how we feel, do what we must, do what is right, feelings follow.

At 1:48 PM, Blogger Stacey said...

All I know is that I want my children to focus on God and what he wants for their lives. If they're doing that then I'll be happy!!

At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa, this quote is soo cool to me as it captures the whole "main idea" of raising children that I wish to apply in all that I teach them.I want them to view life in a passionate "absorb every bit of it" kind of way. Most of all though it captures the whole idea I wish to teach them in following the Lord. I want them to feel him, and his love. I want them to love him, and desire to serve him from that love they feel for him. I want them to see how much he loves us and has given us, and to understand how he sees us. I just don't think that happens through the traditional guilt trips and burning in hell teachings. Soo non-inspiring to me as well.

At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a mommy but I'm married to one who pointed this quote out to me, so I thought I'd throw in my two cents. I think the key is in recognizing that each of us innately has longings. We are born with a longing for beauty and truth and justice and love. In short, a longing for perfection. So the job is not so much to create a longing for the sea, but to stir the longing that exists. Our kids don't recognize what their own longing is for and this causes confusion. My wife and I can try to squelch their longings or try to create new ones but this is working against what resonates with them. Much better to help them see that what they long for is God. When they cry, "It's not fair." we can nurutre this innate longing for justice, but redirect it towards the impartial God. When they are sad about the hurt, pain and imperfection of the world as it presents itself to their little eyes, we try to affirm that there is perfection and His name is Jesus. In fact, it sometimes seems to me that my kids are more aware of the longing and need for God on a moment by moment basis than I am, but less aware of what this longing is. They hear the call of the sea, but need a little help identifying from whence it beckons.

At 7:12 AM, Blogger Avery said...

Taking this qoute and bringing it into the family structure is harder than what it looks like.

So often our culture pushes us to make our children the primary everything of the family, what does this teach our kids? That to grow up and get married means you no longer have a life and that every aspect of your future is then for the kids.

So how do I teach the kids to be healthy and look forward to sailing off into their own adventure?

Well to start I make sure that they see me living a healthy life. They see me loving my wife. Enjoying our marriage and enjoying our family. I do not allow the kids to take a higher priority than my wife and I do not allow the kids schedules to "rule" the house.

I raise them in a fun and loving environment but one that is set in the scheme of a wild adventure. One that as they grow into maturity they can look back and see the wild and the risk, the fun and the excitement and they can see abundant LIFE in the way they were raised.

Spock created a generation that teh kids become the end all to all things, and parents became afraid to live a family life, they now have to live a sevants life to their kids. This creates a dread in these same kids when they think of having their own kids.

I don't have to worry about teaching them to build their own boat yet, I'm years away from that. I just have to keep them on my boat and on my course so that they can see the wild islands, the exotic locations, the cultured cities, the rustic farms, and the fun of being in a solid ship. When it comes time for me to kick them off my boat, and it will happen, there comes a point you HAVE to kick them to the curb if they don't go on their own. Once I get to that point the love for the ship, the love for what they had will drive them to create their own ship. The desire to continue on the journey will drive them to build.

On the other hand if they have been at the wheel for the last 18 years, then there isn't a desire to build and continue. In fact what is created is a desire to find someone to continue to serve their whims and desires.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger PastormacsAnn said...

As a parent, I want to inspire my kids to long to know Jesus, and His infinite love.

I don't want them to see the Bible as merely a to-do list, a list of rules, a burdensome book of tasks to do in order to please an unreachable, unpleaseable, unknowable God.

I want them to understand it as a love letter to them, and as they learn the great lengths that God went to adopt them as sons and daughters and His deep sacrificial love for them, then they will long to know Him and please Him.

At 10:59 PM, Blogger momofalltrades said...

The object and design of education is Liberty!

* We teach morality so they will be free from vice.
* We teach literacy so they will be free from ignorance.
* We teach economics to free them from financial bondage.

This quote from Accelerated Acheivement's website "spoke" to me. I think it encompasses the spirit of what I hope to accomplish. Ultimately, I want them to exercise their agency in a responsible way that is pleasing to the Lord, because I know that is the only way I can ensure their happiness.


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