Rick Warren is the author of the Purpose Driven Life. This a significant book for many reasons including encouraging enhanced personal growth through a spiritual practice. The book topped the Wall Street Journal best seller charts as well as Publishers Weekly charts with over 30 million copies sold by 2007.
Now, you might be saying what’s the great Rick Warren, got to do with me and my child?
In his book he talks about how life is a game of poker and we are all dealt five cards. The first card we are dealt is CHEMISTRY, our biology.
The second card is CONNECTIONS, our relationships with people. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
The third card is CIRCUMSTANCE, what life throws at us including our parents financial status when we are born and the neighborhoods we grow up in. Kids growing up in the ghetto with violence and drugs have bad circumstances.
Single parent households do not have ideal circumstances. We do become products of our environments and the teachings of our parental figures or the absences of them.
We need to be honest about some more things: children from broken homes are 9X more likely to become criminals than those from stable homes according to, Iain Duncan Smith. He also said, “7 out of 10 offenders come from broken homes, adding that single parent families were more than twice as likely to live in poverty than those living with both parents.”
Raising a child is financially one of your greatest investments. Your child is an investment of time, energy and love. It takes a village to raise them, friends, family and let’s not forget about the 12 year education system we put them through, not including college. It’s important for parents to provide good homes to their children because a broken home, equals broken individuals and too many broken individuals equals a broken society.
In fact, according to a report from the Department of Agriculture. “For a middle-income family to raise a child born in 2015 through the age of 17, the cost of rearing a child has hit $233,610, according to the report. The price jump is a 3% increase from the previous year, according to the report, with housing taking up a bulk of the expense at 29% of the cost. Food took the second biggest expense at 18%.” These numbers do not factor in college tuition or private primary schools.
What defines one family as middle-income compared to another can be almost a 50,000 dollar difference.
However, families that are considered low-income are still expected to spend $174,690. It is not cheap to raise your child. You should be thinking about their up bringing as serious as you take your own career and education. For the families living in the ghettos, I will say you should never make your child feel like a burden and blame feeding them for the reason you couldn’t come up with rent money.
The influence of your words it what causes teenagers and young adults to become desperate for money. This is how our daughters become prostitutes and our sons become drug dealers.
To be a purpose driven parent, you need to have great empathy for your child as a parent. Your circumstances are your child’s circumstances. If you are in a bad situation , your child is in a bad situation, but your child does not need to be blamed for it and you shouldn’t make them shoulder your financial burden.
You should be actively working to get your family into a better situation and if that means a second job that’s what it means. As you work towards a better life you should be loving towards your child, but a lot of times parents with bad circumstances will turn against their children and blame them for their lives not being better.
I have seen many young women and men blame their children for their lack of education or a job, even their drug addictions on their children and this is an extremely unfair practice and a great amount of shame to put on your own child.
Your child is not to blame for your problems. Your child should be a great source of joy and hope to you and it should be an honor to shape and raise them.
You are to blame for your problems and perhaps, many of theirs and if they become ineffective adults it is likely and honestly because you were a bad or neglectful parent that did not help them to dream up a future for themselves..
If you cannot give your child financial support at least give them emotional support instead of emotional abuse and neglect. Emotional abuse and neglect can damage your child in a way that may cause them to have no faith in themselves and no trust in other individuals. If they have no faith in themselves they may find it hard to get a job, get through school or even form meaningful and healthy relationships with others.
The way you treat your child is likely how they will treat other people for much of their lives.
Once the child feels unloved by the parent this can lead to all kinds of emotional issues including suicide and depression. If a child, teenager or a budding adult kills themselves, we have to ask, where were the parents? How did the child feel so unloved they shot themselves? I am telling you a bullying incident at school might have been what triggered them, but that’s is because the foundation of supportive love for the child was already ruined.
In normal situations the moment someone starts to mistreat us, devalue our humanness and make us feel small and unlovable, we have a decision to listen to them and believe their negative words, or get up and walk out of the room with our dignity intact, but a child or even a young adult under their parents roof does not have this option because of the circumstance card.
Parent’s try to abuse the one card Rick Warren says is in their child’s control all the time, which is the power to choose who they are and what they want to believe about the world and their place in it.
Parents can maliciously do this and unintentionally do this just by teaching out dated traditions, or saying something like I will pay for college, but only if you go to law school, which is intentionally taken a way the child’s ability to choose the direction their life heads in. Parents try to influence how they view people of different backgrounds, their career aspects and even their love lives.
Now, the number one way to gain control over people is to break their spirits. Tell your child they are not good enough to be a dancer and the likely outcome is they won’t become one because not only did you not support them, but you discouraged them at every turn. If a person thinks they are not worthy of respect, success, dignity, freedom and happiness, they are easy to control and unfortunately, parents can be the biggest bullies and obstacles to their children’s success.
We have a lot to think about when trying to be a purpose driven parent who shapes their child to be loving and confident, instead of hateful and depressed.
Thus, the fourth card we need to discuss is CONSCIOUSNESS, the way we think and view the world.
Our consciousness is intensely shaped by our parents.
Until we are married we will never have such large exposures of time with another person. With that being said, what kind of person you are matters.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The fastest way to become a drug dealer is to have a father who deals drugs. The fastest way to get rich is to have a rich father.
This seems to be hard for many parents to admit in modern society, but you are responsible for raising your child to be a self confident loving human being, not teachers at the school, not Youtube or the government, but YOU the parent. You are responsible for how your kids turn out and if they turnout really bad as an adult, it is probably because you were not a purpose driven parent. You probably sucked as a parent.
I hear too many parents shrieking off their parental responsibilities, saying stuff like I can’t wait till your 18 so I can throw you out of my house. This is another idea that needs to be debunked immediately, that parenting stops when the kid turns 18. Did you even teach them how to be an adult and manage money? Parenting your child is a lifetime of work. Your child will always need you.
When I was hanging out with a friend’s sister one time, and the sister’s husband declared that their three year old daughter would grow up to be a stripper. He wasn’t making a joke when he said this. He said, it like it was a scientific fact because this was what the women in his life were doing for a living.
When the father made this statement about his daughter, he was influencing four of her five cards, her biology, her circumstances, her connections and her consciousness. The only things she had left was the ability to choose not to be a stripper, which brings me to the fifth and final card . The fifth card is choice, our power to choose better decisions tomorrow than we did yesterday and better decisions than our parents.
However, it’s not just the father’s who might be planting the seeds of doubt into their children’s minds and filling their consciousness with garbage. When I was in Thailand, I heard many mothers decide their daughters would have small lives before the daughters were old enough to decide for themselves. “Why can’t she go to college,” I would ask and they would just say, “It’s too expensive. She will find a good man to take care of her.”
It’s a shame when a mother doesn’t want more for her daughter than to have her married off. It shows a limitation in the mothers thinking, and unfortunately this small minded thinking often gets passed down from generation to generation. It causes girls to think small and lose sight of themselves. This can happen to boys too, but attempting to limit ones potential from childhood is usually something that happens to girls.
Boys are usually encouraged to conqueror the world. Boys are usually taught they can be anything. Girls are usually taught to be pretty enough that a good man will marry them. This is a generalization, but one that has its merits.
Rick Warren says, out of five cards only one of these cards is truly ours to master, which is the ability to make a choice, but I believe it is actually two cards we have control over because we can change our consciousness as we get older and educate ourselves through our personal experiences and books.
With that being said, one of the hardest things a child has to do is unlearn what their parents taught them. This endeavor can take up much of a young adults life as they make the choice to be a better person than their parents raised them to be and depending on what kind of parent you were, you may have fundamentally damaged your child, leaving them to feel worthless and powerless in their own skin for decades to come.
If society starts bullying a person young enough, and early enough it will raise an individual with no willpower, no strength, and no sense of self-worth. This is where good parenting comes in.
Sometimes the parent’s are the ones bullying their children and this needs to stop. It is a parent’s responsibility to provide a safe space for their child to dream and explore their unlimited potential. If for whatever reason you make no efforts to better yourself in your own life, you should help your child to make every effort to better themselves.
Help your child, teach your child, give your child the world. Teach them to be good, important human beings. Don’t raise your greatest investment of time, money, love and resources to be mediocre or worse a stripper. Raise them to be purpose driven human beings.