Parenthood is the art of making yourself obsolete. It involves ensuring as far as possible that your child has the self-discipline and character to make it through the ups and downs of life, far into the future. They learn from us the tools necessary for resilience and success.

Every year, there are four questions all mums, dads, uncles, aunts, guardians or grandparents involved in child-rearing should try to ask themselves:

  1. Am I setting my children up to succeed?
  2. Am I positioning them to succeed?
  3. Am I setting my children up to fail?
  4. Am I positioning them to fail?

To set, is to place. To position, is to aim.

The “setting” up of a child for success or failure is usually deliberate.

Whereas the “positioning” of a child pivots on the inherent unintended consequences drawn from our words, deeds and attitudes.

In the realm of “nature or nurture,” setting up and positioning lands squarely on the latter.

No Child is an Island

No one can survive long in his or her own three-foot world.

Humans are a social race. It is false to assert that people can live in complete isolation from those around them. We were created for community. Ordered, oriented and ordained for fellowship.

In life, our first contact with fellowship begins with the family unit.

This is why (as many people far more learned than me have said): as goes the health of the family, so goes the health of society, the state, and the nation.

Like a stone thrown into the middle of a calm lake, what we say, what we do, and how we carry ourselves as mums and dads, will have ripple effects that impact our kids.

This impact will either be direct or indirect, positive, negative, temporary or long-lasting.

In sum: setting up, and positioning; placing and aiming. The raising up to life or the extinguishing of it.

Loving Discipline

Parents who can say “yes, we are trying” to live out points 1 and 2 understand how important it is to fight for their kids, rather than fight against them.

For instance, in the heat of our “battles”, I remind my kids as much as possible that any discipline or disagreement, is me stepping up to bat for them.

To lean on the Good Book, this is me ‘training my kids up in the way they should go.’ (Proverbs 22:6)

If I didn’t care, or love them, I wouldn’t say a word.

If I cared more about myself than my kids, I would try to protect myself from the pain of dealing with their mess, and save myself a whole heap of time, effort and trouble in the process.

If I cared more about my kids not liking me, because I corrected their poor judgement or addressed their bad habits, I’d abdicate and instead opt for being “nice” all the time.

These are the alternative found in questions 3 and 4: the abandonment of children to the world and its vices.

Contrary to the adage, ignorance is not bliss.

Asking hard questions like the four listed above helps us as parents to protect our children by preparing them.

What is sown today, will be reaped tomorrow.

Ready for Anything

The best way to protect our kids, is to prepare them for life’s curveballs.

The best way to prepare them involves a “yes” and a “no”, because the “no” to self, empowers the “yes” to life.

No love is greater.

It is not our job as parents to protect our kids from life.

It is our job as parents to prepare our kids for life.

Simply put: preparing our kids for life, protects them for life.

As Kid President once said, “the little things that we do are a big deal.”

Be a hero to your kids, engage! Help them maintain what Sun Tzu’s Art of War calls “the high ground.”

Responsible preparation is the best form of parental protection.


Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels.

About the Author: Rod Lampard

Rod, his wife Jonda, and their five kids are homeschooling veterans. Rod spent 12 years in management at Koorong, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry & Theology, and is a writer for the theological, politically edgy news site Caldron Pool. Rod also writes for the Spectator. Find his personal blog here.

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