Thursday, March 8, 2007

Just like my kids

"Oh, she's just like my kids."

My neighbor was referring, of course, to her dog. And it was meant as hyperbole.

The thing is, for many in America, it's not hyperbole.

We really care little more for our children than our pets.


How many parents take their children to obedience school? Plenty of pet owners take their dogs.

When was the last time you turned on the radio and found a call-in show on child training? I found one on pet training a couple weeks ago.

How many owners of a purebred dog will let it wander the town freely? You wouldn't do that! It might get stolen! It might end up as the mama of a litter of mutts!

But children as young as 3 roam my neighborhood without any adult knowing where they are. Surely the 7-year-old sister is up to keeping an eye on the little one!

When we went to Orlando last year, our resort provided child care so the adults could go enjoy themselves. I had to ask myself what kind of parent leaves his child with perfect strangers in a strange city. But enough did that the resort offered the service. I didn't check what kind of background checks the workers at the day care facility went through because I wasn't going to think of leaving my children there. I'll bet the parents who did leave their children there didn't inquire either. I had just left my dog at a kennel for the trip, but I wasn't about to leave my son or daughter like that.

But this is not about how we pamper our pets.

This is about the fact that our society has devalued its children.

We treat them as pretty playthings, we push them aside when we're done playing with them, we permit perverts to destroy them and suffer only nominal punishment, and we throw them away if we decide we don't want them.

How different from the view we find in the Bible!

Children are a heritage from the Lord.

They are something given in trust, something that will outlast us. They are our legacy. They are the measure of our success as individuals, of our usefulness in society.

You will never be sorry you poured your life into your children. The time holding the infant, reading to the child, teaching him a thousand little things -- it is not wasted.

Take the time to let your children know you love them. And really love them! Don't just teach them to play a game -- teach them the value of work by having them work with you week in and week out. Don't just teach them to understand a sport -- teach them to understand life by explaining why your family lives the way you do. Don't just teach them to aspire to admirable occupations -- teach them to aspire to and achieve honorable character.

That takes time. Legacy-building always does.

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