Are We the Product of Our Environment?

One thing I continually hear that irritates me to no end is that a particular child is bad.  That almost infuriates me!  I don’t believe children are bad… but rather a product of their environment.

You’ve heard the analogy if you place one person in with 9 negatives they will soon become the 10th negative one.  Another example I’ve heard countless times is one where 1 person was placed in a class with 9 overachievers and another was placed in a class with 9 underachievers.  In each scenario, the 10th person followed suit although they were both at the same level going in.  We are a product of our environment.

I absolutely hate to hear young parents (and older ones too) referring in somewhat of an affectionate tone that their child is just “oh so bad”.  They chuckle after saying it.  The child starts to say it and then the child begins to act it out.  Don’t you know our words have life?  Humph!

Don’t get me wrong, I have heard grandparents speaking in this way as well.  Not cute at all!

Mother speaking to a 3 year old when she’s doing something really wrong but the mother considers cute: “Sally, you are so bad! (giggling)  Look at her! She does that all of the time.  Just bad!”  Parents STOP IT! When she does it at age 5 or 6 then it’s no longer cute.  The teacher tells you this child is unruly and now you’re embarrassed. Who taught them it was though?  Mixed signals!  I get confused just thinking about it.

Children learn what they see and hear.  If you really want to see a child succeed, make the investment of speaking positively into that child’s life.  Don’t set the child up for failure first and foremost by the words you speak; secondly, by what you model before them and lastly by the environment you place them in.

Be selective in who you have care for your child.  Be very selective who and what you subject your child to…the school they attend, the church they attend, the classes they take, the activities they’re involved in. Be selective as to who speaks into your child’s life.  Be selective!

And just to throw this in–do not confuse giving children toys–the latest gadgets–confining them to their rooms for hours on end helps them in their growth.  Although these may be educational, children need physical activities as well as those that stimulate their minds.  You are the teacher.  Don’t have your child grow up with “locked in the house syndrome”, i.e., establish some balance.

Now, is it the child’s fault that he/she begins to misbehave?  The fault belongs to the parents…train up a child in the way he/she should go.  Teach them the right way.  Train them.  Don’t allow others to speak negatively about your child.  Be their biggest supporter and cheerleader.  Spend time with them.  Don’t send them to church, but take them.  And the next time you start to say this child is bad and this child happens to be your child, look in the mirror and think about just what part you played in all of this.  You might find there is much work to be done on your part.  I’m just saying!

We as parents have a God-given obligation to help our children grow and become the best they can possibly be, with a special emphasis on those under age 18.  Once they are grown, or think they are, we have to let them go and let them live their lives.  If we sit back allowing everyone else to tell us who our child is and we punish them or chastise them without doing our part…well all I can say is you are going to get royal whippings yourself later.  Children are a gift from God!  And I don’t believe He takes to kindly to all of these negligent parents.

Normally my messages are positive in nature: I believe this one to be as well.  I beg of you parents, spend time–no, invest time in your child now.  This is the gift God has given you and the greatest gift (other than salvation) one can ever receive.  I pray you heed the words shown here as they come straight from the heart.

Am I the perfect parent? No.  Did I make a lot of mistakes in raising my children? Yes…and it’s largely because of the mistakes I made that I can now share with you the importance of being actively involved in raising yours.