Recently I read an article by psychologist John Rosemond titled, “The Most Important People in a Family Aren’t the Kids.” I’ve always appreciated Dr. Rosemond’s sage advice on parenting and this current article was no exception. His big idea was simple. Many of the problems parents have with children these days stem from the faulty idea that children are the most important people in the family, and that the marriage and the family exist because of the kids.
The truth is not that children aren’t important. They are. But the most important people in the family are the parents. The children exist because of them. The marriage and the family will rise or fall depending upon the parents. Without the parents, the kids wouldn’t eat well, have clothes to wear, live in a nice home, or live with a sense of security. There would be no vacations and few presents under the Christmas tree.
Rosemond points out that once upon a time in the United States, “children were second-class citizens to their advantage.” It was clear that the parents’ marriage was more important than the relationship to the children. Children were not as welcome in the marital bed and not as welcome to freely interrupt a marital conversation. The family meal was more important than after-school activities. Rosemond writes, “The primary objective should not be to raise a straight-A student who excels at three sports, earns a spot on the Olympic swim team, goes to an A-list university and becomes a prominent brain surgeon.”
What is the primary goal then? It is most certainly not to raise children who feel entitled. You don’t want that. Your child doesn’t need that. And it will certainly not help America or serve the Kingdom of God. The goal is to lead your children with strength and humility to follow Christ with all their heart, mind and strength. It is to help them find their calling to be salt and light in this world.
Every team needs a coach. Every classroom needs a teacher. Every corporation needs a CEO. Every church needs a pastor. And every family needs parents.