Is it just me, or have you also wondered whether or not the world has become completely unglued? Bulletproof backpacks for school kids, more channels than anyone knows what to fill with on the television, social anxiety as well as rising rates of obesity as a result of spending too much time in front of a screen…the one thing I don’t want to ask myself is, “what’s next?!”
Raising children, while historically demanding, has become increasingly complex with all of our modern conveniences. Sometimes my husband and I feel as if society is working against us as we continue to meet the challenges of raising five children. Our oldest two sons (at twenty-six and twenty years of age) are independent adults on two very different paths. One has faced some significant personal issues in his young life, however has found contentment working full-time in the computer field in Austin. The second son, about to embark on his junior year in college after taking a year off to work as a youth minister, will leave in September to study abroad in Rome.
Tom and I still have three under our roof, one whom will be a junior in high school, our fourth son will begin his quest for a middle school education and all that comes with the “kids in the middle come first” phase of his life, and our only daughter will soon continue her journey through the elementary years.
Having to address and often multitask almost every level of child development through the eyes of each of these very unique individuals on a daily basis, I have learned to keep my eyes and ears wide open to what is going on both inside and outside of our front door. The more attuned I become to how different it is to grow up now as opposed to my own upbringing (in the 80s), the more I truly believe society is waging war on the family unit.
There is no way to halt or reverse the advances in technology, the portrayal of life through the media’s eyes, the unending growing or manufacturing of mind altering drugs, so Tom and I often ask ourselves how do we, as a mother and father who want to instill and preserve basic morals and values such as honesty, accountability, delayed gratification, gratitude, and a desire to contribute to something greater than ourselves, compete against the world’s constant message of self-indulgence, ingratitude, and minimal consequences?
The only answer I have found is that it starts with me. I have to (a) want to continue to work hard to instill those morals and values by modeling the behavior I desire for my children and (b) place myself and my marriage/family life in a priority position so together Tom and I can consciously raise our children with boundaries as well as unconditional love and regard for the path they were meant to walk while on Earth. It’s an uphill battle, but even twenty-six years in, I am not about to give up!
Kimberly Muench is a Flower Mound mother of five and author of “My Mothers Footprints: A Story of Faith, Calm, Courage, Patience and Grace.” To see more of her work or to contact her, visit www.mymothersfootprints.com.