In the book, The Noticer Returns, by Andy Andrews, Jones is leading a parenting class. He asks those in the class three questions.
1) “As parents, do you believe that you are doing the very best you can?”
2) “If society’s best parents—the most loving, the most determined, the most concerned parents—are all raising their children by setting their sights on a target called ‘doing the best we can,’ is anyone aiming at the same thing?”
3) “What do today’s parents agree is the gold standard for raising children?”
In response to the first question, most truly loving and caring parents would say that, of course, they are doing the best that they can and then may even respond with their own question, “What’s wrong with that?”
There is nothing wrong with doing the best that you can, but is that good enough? If everyone is truly doing the best that they can, then what is it that everyone is “doing”? Are we all doing the same thing or is everyone just raising their kids how they see fit.
Is there one standard by which everyone parents?
Here is an excerpt from the book that tells us how Jones answers this question…
“Suddenly the old man was animated. He rose from the chair and passionately declared the conclusion to which he had come. “You see, my friends,” he said, “by not addressing the issue of an accepted standard, today’s parents have defaulted into an uncomfortable agreement with each other. They have agreed that there will not be a standard for raising our children.
“One set of parents teaches their daughter to say ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘no sir.’ Another couple contends that standard of behavior to be a matter of opinion.”
“One parent demands her boys dress in trousers that are belted at the waist. Her boys must wear their ball caps with the bill pointed to the front, and those caps are to be removed, with no exceptions, when indoors. That parent’s next-door neighbor, on the other hand, might have entirely different rules about what clothes her children are allowed to wear and how they are allowed to wear them. Meanwhile, society lives with increasingly discouraging results.”
Kelli spoke. “So you are saying there are no standards?”
“Quite the contrary,” Jones replied. “I am saying that there are many different standards. That is essentially why there is a vast array of parenting books published every year, each touting new methods or different ways to measure a child’s success. There are scores of classes—most larger than this one—all being taught by a countless number of people who claim to be experts in the field of parenting.”
Jones goes on in the book with an analogy of planting a fruit tree and raising it. Most trees that you go buy at the store come with instructions on how to plant and care for that tree in order for it to produce good fruit. If you follow those instructions your chances of growing a tree that produces good fruit are much better than if you just stick it in the ground and ignore it.
Those instructions are the standard by which many people came together and agreed would be the best way to raise a fruit tree and get good results.
As parents, we have been given an enormous challenge in raising our kids because when they were born they did not come with an instruction manual. There are many books and lots of different opinions out there, but society has not yet came to an agreement on a single standard by which everyone should raise their children.
About the only standard that I can think of that civilized society has come up with is that parents should send their kids to school for 13 years.
Is that good enough?
Does there need to be a standard for raising children?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
This topic has struck a chord in me and I plan to write more about this in the coming weeks. As parents, the future is in our hands and it all starts with how we raise our kids.
Excerpts From: Andrews, Andy. “The Noticer Returns.” Thomas Nelson, 2013-07-01. iBooks.
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