How do you raise successful adults? That is the question. . .
My husband and I have five children. The oldest is 18 and the youngest is 10; and if we succeed in raising successful adults, it is because God has been very good to us. We have not been perfect; and I feel like half the time, we don’t know if we are doing the parenting job right; however, it is the job God has given us to do. Praise the Lord that He never leaves us nor forsakes us, that He directs our steps, and that He will give us His strength when He is weak.
I have to admit . . . parenting is humbling, mind-boggling, and there sometimes confusing. Each child is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all type of parenting.
When it comes to raising success adults, the first question that must be asked is, “What is your definition of success?”
Do you want them to earn a lot of money? Do you want them to be able to support themselves and to be go-getters? Do you want them to get married and have children?
As a Christian, obviously we want our children to love the Lord first of all.
We want the faith that we practice in our house to be real in their lives. That they make our God their own personal God. Then we want them to be sensitive to what God would want them to do with their lives. That doesn’t always line up with what the world may call successful. They may not make much money. They may go into full-time Christian work or go on the mission field. We would be excited if that is what God calls them to do with their lives; but we would be just as excited if God wanted them to be doctors here in the United States and they were able to show the love of Christ through their care of others. We want them to be doing what God has called them to do.
However, even if that is not what your definition of being a successful adult, I think we can all agree on a few things. Successful adults need to be able to do a few things:
- Work hard.
- Prepare financially for themselves and their family.
- Be able to live independently of their parents.
- Be kind.
- Be honest.
These are just the first few things that popped into my head. These may seem like no-brainers, but sometimes, they are harder to teach than it seems. For instance, my youngest, is a sweetheart. She is my most social child. You want someone to be a friend to a new person? Bring her to meet them. She loves to do art. She also loves her Kindle. She hates piano practice, and she doesn’t like the academic part of school. She is capable of doing great at school — she just doesn’t love the work that is involved. She would rather be talking to her friends. After much stress this past week, we finally dropped piano. It wasn’t worth the stress on my life as I sat over her for piano practice. But she also got her Kindle taken away for 2 months and she has to help me every day do different jobs instead of doing piano practice. Why? She needs to be able to work. Play is fun, but when she is an adult, she needs to also know how to work.
When I was asked to look at the book, The Straight A Handbook: The 50 Most Powerful Secrets for Ultimate Success in and Out of the Classroom, the first part of the title did not grab my attention to much. My children so far have been straight A students, but some children cannot get straight A’s no matter how much they try. I just want my kids to do the best they can do — which comes down to their work ethic. Thus, the second part of the title, The 50 Most Powerful Secrets for Ultimate Success in and Out of the Classroom, did make me pay attention. I want my kids to have success in and out of the classroom. I want them to have grow up to be successful adults when I am no longer there to watch over them.
In this book, there are 50 short chapters, each one with a “secret” for ultimate success. They are not necessarily secrets– I would call many of them reminders as they are easily forgotten. But they are important. The book is interesting with personal stories of the author’s life or with stories of other people who are successful and what made them successful. For example, in the first chapter, John Chuback, the author, tells of when he entered his surgical residency and the speech that was given to him by the Chairman of the Department of Surgery and how that the only reason he had risen to that position was that he out-sat (or sat longer than anyone else in his studies) and out-read them. Here is a quote from the very end of that first chapter:
Rule number one in being a great student: you have to read like crazy!John Chuback, M.D.
That is where I have messed up with my youngest. I went to work when she was 4 and was no longer a stay-at-home like I was with the others. I read, read, read to my oldest four as I was at home and I always had another baby so I read to them while I fed the baby. But she was the baby. I was running here and there with the older 4. Then I had to go back to work; then we moved 20 hours to a new ministry. I wasn’t at home as much; she didn’t love to read; and I didn’t make her. I used to do library reading programs, but the ones here in Florida weren’t like the ones we had in Illinois, so I didn’t make it a priority. I was tired, and it slipped through the cracks. She had access to devices like my others never had, and she became a pro at them. And she can’t think like the others — she’s not dumb. Not at all. But I do think devices (too much of them) change the way kids think. So we are taking at least a two month break from devices and I’m making her read every day — only about 20 minutes, but she has to read.
Here are just a few of the good advice given in this book. Some of them are original to the author, but many quotes are oldies but goodies passed down from the wisdom of those who have come before us:
He who shall thrive must rise at five; while he who has thriven may rise at seven.
Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not here yet, all we have is today.
Nothing hard is ever easy.
Goals are dreams with deadlines.
You don’t know what you don’t know.
Courage is not the lack of fear. Courage is the ability to manage and control fear.
Choose your friends wisely.
This book would be great for high school graduates. It gives a seriousness to thinking about what they must do if they want to achieve success as an adult. They must be willing to grow up and realize that they must work to accomplish their goals. It even helps them to see how to set those goals — to start learning what they want to get out of life. They must know themselves, know their interests, and then know how to get what they want. We can’t do it for them — they must be independent, successful adults.
This book is not a Christian book; the author admits he is not a man of faith; however, many of the principles could be found in the wisdom portions of the Bible such as the book of Proverbs. Some of the chapters talk about persistence, working hard, rising early, having good friends, staying out of trouble, not worrying, and seizing each day. All of those concepts and more have parallels that can be found in Scripture.
I’m going to read some of these small chapters to my kids as these are great concepts for everyone to put into practice. They will help instill good work ethics and encourage good lifestyles we would desire for our children. I think it is a good book for every child to read before they embark out on their own. It looks like there will also be a Kindle version which will make the book inexpensive. Go check it out!