Saturday, August 08, 2009


In preparing to begin a new school year I've been spending a bit of time analyzing our goals. Of course each child has educational goals, but we also have parenting and life goals that should be evaluated as well. One word keeps popping up in my evaluations:

  • strength: Pronunciation: \ˈstreŋ(k)th, ˈstren(t)th\
  • Function: noun
  • 1 : the quality or state of being strong : capacity for exertion or endurance

2 : power to resist force : solidity, toughness
3 : power of resisting attack : impregnability
4 a : legal, logical, or moral force b : a strong attribute or inherent asset strengthsand the weaknesses of the book are evident
5 a : degree of potency of effect or of concentration strengths b : intensity of light, color, sound, or odor c : vigor of expression
6 : force as measured in numbers : effective numbers of any body or organization strength
7 : one regarded as embodying or affording force or firmness : support strength

My ultimate goal for each member of my family is strength. I want to raise these boys to become strong men. When the world changes around them I need them to be strong enough to deal with wise changes and to hold steady (even to the point of becoming counter-culture) against change that is occurring simply for the sake of change.

When their faith is tested (and you know it will be) I want them to be strong enough to look into other beliefs and question everything that they know... and then rebuild their faith based upon the truths they discover when their questions are answered.

When the media tells them what to believe and how to live I hope they will be intellectually strong enough to question the media sources, and the motives of individuals and companies backing the research leading to the "latest results."

When confronted with people and ideas foreign to them I hope my family has strength of compassion and character that allows them to see all individuals as equal and all viewpoints as valid- even when they disagree.

There is a movement afoot (not a new movement either) that believes it's in the best interest of our children to remove from public view everything that does not fit in with our own personal belief systems. That is a dangerous way of thinking. It removes individuals rights to liberty and personal expression. It suppresses art and political dissent. Perhaps most disturbing- it prevents our children from experiencing the opportunity to hone their judgement and truly embrace the morals and values we're trying to teach them.

What sort of future men and women are we raising if we truly believe that simply seeing others living and believing differently is a threat? Is it really a threat if women show a bit of cleavage or a lot of leg? Will it damage your children to see strangers drinking beer at a restaurant? Does having dinner with a gay couple actually have the power to destroy nuclear families?

Strength of character, intelligence, convictions, and faith is the most important thing I can teach my children. More important than reading, math, or science is strength. Less tangible, not quantifiable, and uncertain until tested is strength. Yet, I think it may be the most important asset of them all.


Amy said...

I think you are accomplishing your goal. Your boys are wonderful, and full of life even when faced with challenges.

Mom26children said...

Thanks for visiting my blog Janet.
Guess what?
I am also a former Ag Major.
I have an AgEd degree from SWTSU...graduated in 1982.
How many times have I used my degree?
None...but, I enjoy saying I can weld a mean line, castrate a bull or pig (which may come in very handy some day), artificially inseminate a cow,survey a plot of land, wrangle a horse and by-golly...rebuild a tractor.
Now, those are things that get me through the day.
Good to meet ya...

Janet said...

Jeanette, Don't forget the arc welding and commodities marketing skills you most likely gained as well. My husband's family laughs when I tell them that what I'd most like to inherit is my husband's grandfathers anvil... They think I'm joking. I think I could take my crafting to whole new level with an anvil and an arc welder :-)

Barbara Frank said...

Janet, I like the thoughts that you express in this post. I have to tell you, though, that once your kids are out in the world, it's scary to set them loose and wait to see how they handle things.

My adult kids are 25 and 24, and each has been on their own quite a while. One has held on to the values they've been raised with, the other has not. I have to trust God that He will bring around the latter in His timing. It's hard to wait for that though.

Jake camping in the living room

Jake camping in the living room