John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

Core Values and Kids

This weekend I'll be speaking for a church that's doing a series on parenting. The series is called "Engaged", and it's about how parents are responsible to be involved in all facets of their children's lives instead of outsourcing certain parts. This subject is something I take very seriously, so I was honored when they asked me to participate in what they'll be doing. In the sermon time this Sunday I'll be discussing the kinds of values I want for my kids. Unfortunately, most parenting books focus on externals -- how to get your kids to sit still at the dinner table or sleep through the night or come when they are called. I actually visited a website yesterday that recommended sending your children to different parts of the house and calling them. If they do not come the first time they are called, correct them (which usually means spanking them). If they come when called three times in a row, you should give them a reward.

Is it me, or does that sound like the way you train a dog?

I'll say this once here to underscore my point:

CHILDREN ARE NOT ANIMALS AND SHOULD NOT BE TRAINED THAT WAY!

The Psalmist warns us not to act like animals:

Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you (Psalm 32:9).

God doesn't want us to be like animals. He doesn't want us to do things because we are coerced or forced. He wants us to do things because we are internally motivated. I realize this internal motivation is not part of the factory presets in most kids. They do have to be trained and taught, and spanking may be an effective form of discipline in some situations. But let me say this again just in case you missed it the first time:

CHILDREN ARE NOT ANIMALS AND SHOULD NOT BE TRAINED THAT WAY!

My wife and I are not raising dogs or horses here. We're not even raising children. My wife and I are raising people; we're raising grown-ups. We're trying to think about the kind of people we want to unleash on the world in a few years, and that goal is what drives our approach to parenting.

I'm trying to think through some of the things I want my kids to have internalized before they're launched out of our home. I've got a few in mind already, but I'd like to hear yours. What are some of the sentences and phrases you want written on your child's heart and mind before they leave the nest?