Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy

That is the sign that hung over the cash register, at the coffee shop where we met Kristine and her husband, last week.  It stared me in the face all night long.  At first I found it amusing…as the night went on, it sunk in, why would they post it, if there weren’t unattended children running around?  In a coffee shop?  In a coffee shop filled with shelves of coffee mugs and tea cups?  In a shop where adults meet to hot drink coffee and converse?  Kiddos and coffee and glass, OH MY!

Why is it that it seems that unattended children are more the norm than ever before?  Why is it that I sat and watched a mom allow her 4 yr old to wheedle her into buying her a new pair of shoes, only to turn around and do it for a candy bar, only to hear her doing yet again, in order to gain a stop at McDonalds for a milk shake before heading home from the grocery store?

On the same trip to the store, Jeff and I threw a candy bar on the counter and said, “We’ve been good tonight, we haven’t argued or disobeyed once. We get to share a candy bar.” The cashier laughed and said, “Okay, but have you been racing around on those skate-shoe things?  Did you knock anyone down and keep going when you blew past them?  Did you pull an end cap down when you were chasing one another?”  I said, “Wow, we didn’t do any of those things. Maybe we EACH deserve a candy bar!”  We then discussed her list…they had all happened that evening since school had gotten out.  It was 8:45 pm.

I overheard a mom telling her friend, “I hate raising kids.  I can’t wait until they just grow up and move out.”  I have had women tell me (generally in front of their children) “Yep, they’re moving out the day they turn 18.”  One gal that Jeff works with refers to her son as “The Brat” all the time.

Why has training children become such a “trick” that we can’t enjoy our children any more?  When did this become so hard?  This is the discussion I’m going after this week.  I think there are several parts to the answer, but I’d MUCH rather hear your thoughts on it?  Why has child training become this HUGE issue that we’re all sucking wind at? (Or maybe you’re not…if so, would you move in with me, please?)   😉

Let’s talk about raising children who have hearts that are tender toward you, so that they might have hearts that are tender toward Father. Let’s talk about attending to the bodies, minds and hearts of our children. I fear that espresso and free puppies ought be the least of our concerns when we’re not attending to them.

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Comments
12 Responses to “Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy”
  1. Mrs. Nehemiah says:

    there was a study recently that indicated that children are more influenced by their peers than by their parents. (DUH!) the difference in the last (few) generation(s) is that Parents used to be a large part of the “peer group” If peer group is “the people you spend the most time with each day.”

    in “olden days” that was known as your “family” now it’s a bunch of other rugrats who don’t have anybody smarter than each other to lean on/learn from.

    remember when you could pick on your siblings but heaven forbid anyone else in the neighborhood try it? the loyalty to family came, in large part from the time spent with them.
    now think of kids who spend from 5 am-8am at the daycare (together) then from 8-3:30 at school (together) then from 3:30 – 5pm or even later(together) if you spend 12 hrs per day with Group A and 8 hrs per day sleeping, then 4 hrs per day with group B (who are always nagging you to pack up, move along, buckle up, eat this, take a bath, do your homework, go to bed) who do you think is your family?? to whom will you be loyal? it’s a function of QUANTITY time.
    now those of us with a good grasp of our quantity time, need to learn how to lead, so that the younger’s of our “peer group” (AKA family) will be the sort of people we like to hang out with, *and* will absorb the values we want them to be loyal to.

    Mrs N
    meekly returning soapbox and megaphone

  2. Susan says:

    Ditto to Mrs N. You CANNOT have quality time without quantity time. Then there is the guilt factor. Guilt that that parent doesn’t spend enough time with child so he indulges them with material things to make up for it. Then child begins to think they are entitled to everything from being first in line, or walking on the sidewalk and shoving mother with stroller onto the grass (yes, real experience). THe other problem? Too much free time. Kids don’t work enough, and are not productive enough. They wander around town bored and cause trouble. There is no selfworth developed in kids ( I am not talking about phsychobabble self esteem). I told my 9yo how much I appreciated her help when I was sick. She says, thats ok mom, I feel good when I help out. Just tonight, Can I help mom, I can do it, I am big enough (slice avacado). Yep she is. I need to remember that. Oy, this is turning into another e-book! LOL
    Susan

  3. Susan says:

    But aside from all that, from a homeschoolmom, in answering one of your questions, it takes the Lord to continually humble us. I often times need Him to give me love for my kids, to put them first. Don’t get me wrong please, I LOVE my kids, but sometimes I don’t act like it. I need to learn to act like it too. I think that is why Titus2 tells older women to teach younger to love their children. It isn’t always easy or natural.
    Susan

  4. MicheleinNZ says:

    I think some of the problems that we see in families are caused by parents wanting to be friends with their children, rather than bucking up and being their parents. If the child is running the family, rather than the parent, there is going to be trouble. We are born sinful and selfish and of course we continue on that way 🙂 but with some guidance (sometimes not very gentle) we can be led towards God who can teach us to overcome our sinful nature.
    Recently I had an email from a friend that said I had the best kids – generally happy, fun to be around, polite. She knows just as well as you all do that they aren’t perfect, but she said it’s nice to be around kids like mine. I was very grateful for her comment but it made me think – well, how did they get like that? I am far far far from being consistent, but we sure do try hard. And we sure do a lot of praying over our kids. And we are quick to ask for forgiveness when we blow it. And i agree with previous comments about quantity time. How best to know our kids than to spend time with them?
    I’m not very coherent so I’ll stop. Interested in other responses.

  5. Kim's Vineyard says:

    In response to Susan’s comment about needing the LORD to help her love her kids (act like it), I just wanted to confess that sometimes I know I can gain a martyr syndrome without even knowing it. I have struggled with this on several accounts. It may be that one day it seems as though just the mere sacrifice of my staying home with them and choosing to school them should be ENOUGH! I mean what more could they ask for…do I have to be NICE to them too???!!! Loving??!! Kind??!! Godly!!?? Don’t they know how great they have it just because of the (patting myself on the back now) incredible opportunity being home gives them.
    Hope you all catch my meaning, but sometimes I look at the whiny brat at the grocery store and think that the only thing that separates my child from theirs could be a simple act of love that I have the choice to give them daily. But will I do it?

    As far as spending time with the kids, I agree. No time=no time no matter how you add it up. My second issue is that I discount the weight of that because of being with the kids all day. “Oh, that’s not an issue for us, we homeschool.” Who am I kidding? It is just as much a problem here if I am not careful. If my kids see only the back of my head all day as I go about my household stuff, am I not just as guilty of not having any time to spend with them? Probably more so.
    Okay, need to go pray about how to love my kids today…as Christ does.

  6. Margie says:

    There needs to be something besides time spent together that feeds that family spirit of unity and loyalty. I feel that we are missing that and we homeschool, my girls do EVERYTHING with each other and with me. I would give anything for that spirit of unity and loyalty. I’m not so sure it comes naturally. How does one teach that?

  7. Krina says:

    This may have already been said but I think part of the issue may stem from a sense that parents don’t feel qualified to be parents. Consider the fact that since 1980 there have been approximately 800 mothering (let alone parenting) books published, not to mention magazines, etc which all tell “how to parent” : sometimes it feels like it takes a doctorate in nutrition just to feed a baby properly, not to mention the encouraging, nurturing, mentoring of growing children.

    It saddens me to see people robbed of their inheritances: including their God given roles as parents. But we are robbed of our confidence and told (in that “the experts say …”) kind of way that we don’t know, that we can’t be trusted, and it strips us of our strength as parents.

    I hope that makes sense.

    Krina

  8. Kim's Vineyard says:

    My dh says this over and over….”Everyone thinks they are helpless because the experts are constantly telling us what to do and how to do it!”

  9. reneegrace says:

    I think the espresso and free puppies is a consequence to the parent!! 🙂

  10. Melanie says:

    My DH has gone from scoffing at my multitude of marriage/parenting books to agreeing that our favorites of these are the ‘perfect’ shower gift for the UNTAUGHT generation(s) now trying to figure it out… if we can give better advice than Oprah/etc and the local pediatrician.

    I grew up in a religious home, but not based on personal relationships with Christ. I guess I wasn’t very impressed with my parents’ parenting, and our relationship is somewhat ‘at arm’s length’ in spite of hugs and frequent dinners, if that makes sense? So I looked to Christian friends, my DH’s Christian family, Elizabeth Elliot, Mary Pride, (radio & books!) etc for direction — people I considered more “expert” and Biblical than me.

    But there have also been plenty of Christians I’ve met who wouldn’t lead the youth group when their OWN kids were in it! OR would rather teach a classroom full of other people’s children than their own OR leave nursery “instructions” for their baby to be held while sleeping/put in the swing/whatever! to keep her quiet — but if she’s hungry, she’ll let you know {what does this mom get done at home???} OR a newlywed who thought she should boil the oil before cooking the donut recipe I gave her (!) (this after a first attempt where she didn’t have enough oil, so added water before heating it = soggy donuts!) Okay, so the last girl is clueless in the kitchen, and I’m willing to help her; but her mom’s reply to her disasters: “Haven’t you ever heard of Dunkin’ Donuts?” How helpful is that??

    So my DH thinks I need to have workshops (we are in a church full of college/seminary students, so lots of newlyweds and new parents away from their own parents).

    okay, sorry to rant — but these are people IN the church who are clueless about parenting and homemaking. SO sad.

    …and now dh is home for lunch early… better go ‘do the next thing!’ =)

  11. I think another side to the not enough time together problem is that parents don’t have to take the time to train their kids because they aren’t with them that much. For example, I take my kids to the grocery store every week. If I didn’t try to teach them how to behave in public, every week would be sheer misery. If I did all my shopping before I picked them up from daycare, I wouldn’t be so concerned. I took a good friend’s son to the store with my three the other week and it was insane! He had not been in a grocery store since he could ride in the buggy. If a parent is just trying to “get through this trip” it’s easier to just keep them quiet than stop what you’re doing to teach them, but if you know there are a lot of trips in your future, it’s an *investment* to make sure they get it. Does that make any sense?

  12. Karl says:

    I think the meaning of the sign has been lost. If you let your child run around unsupervised and it annoys other people then priming the little sprog with a mega caffein dose and an adorable puppy will be just retribution. Pretty simple really.

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