Lately I have been thinking a lot about how I have done / am doing as a parent. Two of our kids are in college and a third headed there this fall. With them leaving the nest and approaching the big wide open spaces of the world, it has struck me that my views on parenting and on politics are very similar.
When I think about what I wish for for my kids, I do NOT wish for a world with out obstacles, unfairness, bumps in the road or mountains to climb. Those same mountains that are daunting for them now will prove to be what provides the scenery when they have reached the summit.
I do not wish for them to never know the sting of unfairness. Instead I wish for them to rise above it and learn the lesson of treating others kindly and fairly. They can learn that lesson no other way. If I teach them to rely SOLELY on the protection of others and not to defend themselves and their loved ones, then they are destined to not be able to teach my future grandchildren that same lesson.
The same in both of these cases applies to politics, of course.
I cannot teach my children to rely on government, or bureaucrats and to rely on themselves simultaneously. I cannot teach them self reliance, except to depend on a handout from the government. Getting the latter in the long term undermines the liberty and sovereignty that I wish to provide them.
I cannot teach them to voluntarily submit their will to their Creator and Savior and to follow his example in serving others and giving freely to those in need, if I teach them that the only way that one is compassionate is if they provide their income to a government at the point of a gun. I must teach them to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar, unto God that which is God’s. One is a forced act of submission, the other a willing act of contrition.
I must teach my kids to care and give freely rather than submit and be manipulated. The latter is a poor substitute for the former.
I must teach them the fine balancing act of being tolerant to all beliefs and yet unyielding in defending theirs. I must remind them that accepting others for who they are requires an equal amount of respect to be reciprocated. Always.
I must teach my kids that true freedom requires responsibility. They are inseparable. Irresponsibility always leads to captivity, it always has. Whether to a habit, to pain, to embarrassment, or simply to the consequences of the irresponsible act. They are inseparable.
I must teach them that taking from others is wrong. Anytime. Everytime. If it belongs to others, then it is not yours. Period. If it belongs to you, then it is yours. Defend it vigorously. Give of it freely to others. Do not hoard. Keep enough for you, but provide others around you the opportunity of success that you enjoy.
I must teach them to defend the defenseless, shelter the homeless, serve the weary, comfort the sick, and take joy in small moments of kindness to others… and that noone smiles when they write a tax check thinking “wow I have this warm feeling of providing for others.” Yet personally giving of your time and money and heart to individuals will allow you to feel all of those things.
Finally, I wish for my kids Liberty. The Freedom that allows them to be what they want, even if that is counter to my will or beliefs. I cannot show them the joys and value of Liberty and confine them to my way of thinking.
Free will is a gift that I treasure, and while I am responsible for guiding them, I am equally responsible for allowing them to freely choose their future and their success.