Who's Raising The Next Generation?

Shatoyia - posted on 05/30/2012 ( 6 moms have responded )

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With so many married moms working, who's raising the kids? I think the saying is true, "whoever spends the most time with our children has the most influence over them...has their hearts". What use to be the exception is now the norm. Kids are spending 7-8 hours/ 5 days a week in school, sports 2-3 days out of the week, 2-4 hours on a computer or phone, watching 5+ hours of TV per day or playing video games, and spending 30 mins or less with their parents. Am I the only who is noticing this problem?

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Angela - posted on 06/04/2012

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If you live in a community where most of the parents (that's men AND women, single parent families AND 2 parent families) are unemployed and on benefits, I believe you owe to your children to set the example of working for a living so they not affected by the benefits culture. They need to know, both sons AND daughters, that working for one's living is the "norm".

I especially HATE to hear of women who stop working before they've even had children! If their husband earns enough for them to be a stay-at-home parent, that's fine. But families can't live on fresh air. Also, it doesn't have to be the mother who stays at home, in some families the mother goes out to work and the father stays at home with the kids - indeed, if the mother's job earns more than her husband's then it's silly for her to be the one who stays home - unless both parents want it that way. Remember though that once they're in full-time school, they don't need one parent in the home 24/7.

I know of families where the 3rd generation are out of work and living on benefits just like their parents and grandparents before them. It's a hard cycle to break and when there are so many single mothers on benefit, they're not seen as a "good catch" for a man who is working for his living. It's not the ready-made family that is off-putting for the man who may be interested in the children's mother - it's the fact that she's not working herself and appears to be looking for a meal-ticket. Many women in such circumstances are unskilled as well.

I was unfortunate enough to be out of work for several years despite my best efforts. But I used that time to go to college, go to University and get an honours degree and also take on part-time and temporary jobs whilst I was looking for a full time job.

Fortunately, my kids absorbed my education-and-work ethic - just one is unemployed currently. By the time I had full-time, permanent work, they were just about grown-up anyway. And I didn't meet a worthy man until I was working! Children are raised by your example as much as by your presence - that's an important point to consider. And no amount of telling children your values gets the message over as effectively as living those values.

One particular boyfriend (and yes, he was a Christian!) was not working himself but didn't feel I should get myself educated and look for work. It must have made him feel inferior or jealous or something - too bad! He used to say things to me that indicated he admired me more for doing menial chores than for going to college. Three times he said to me "I've never loved you more than when I saw you doing that ..." So what was I doing those 3 times?

1) making toffee apples for my kids
2) giving a bottle of formula to a neighbour's baby (my 14 year son was baby-sitting and the baby wouldn't stop crying so my son had phoned me!)
3) on my hands and knees scrubbing a floor under the kitchen table!

I'm so embarrassed that I was even linked to this man now! But as I said earlier, an unemployed woman is not a good catch for an eligible man. No shortage of unemployed would-be boyfriends though! My neighbour had 5 kids and met a man who loved her and her children - and he married her! He never worked though - neither did she. They had 2 more children at the expense of the taxpayer. All the kids are now grown-up but still the parents (now in early 50's) don't work. Only about 2 of the 7 kids are in work.

When I finally got paid work, I was moving in different circles. That was when I met the lovely Christian man I'm married to now. He admits he would not have considered me as partner material (let alone wife material) had I been unemployed. But then he often says "I wish I'd have met you YEARS ago!" So who knows?

Also my son said to me about 6 months after I found full-time paid work:

"Mam, I've never been so proud of you as I have over the past few months. You're WORKING now and not like these welfare scroungers we're surrounded by!"

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Angela - posted on 06/07/2012

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Shatoyia, I appreciate your input. Titus 2, with reflection, IS specific to married, Christian women who aren't in any of the situations you listed. But I was not married and not supported by my ex-husband (the children's father), and I was the single parent of 4 kids who lived with me in an area where it was very much the "norm" for adults, male AND female, with OR without children, not to work and to rely on welfare benefits. So I personally made the better choice of showing my children the true "norm" - or at least TRYING to show them - I didn't have a great deal of luck with my job-hunting - but probably much more luck than if I just hadn't bothered.

To be fair, how many women nowadays, Christian or otherwise, even HAVE a husband (or significant other) living with them and their children and working to provide for their family? You wouldn't believe the number of couples who go through sham divorces in order to get more benefits by claiming separately! That's the couples who were legally married in the first place, LOL!!

I also believe that when both parents are together but are unemployed it's perfectly OK for the wife to get work and the husband to be the one at home with the kids if it's easier for her to find work than it is for him. Especially if she is more skilled/qualified than him and can get better-paid work. Children who are in full-time education don't necessarily need one parent at home all day.

Titus 2 gives a blueprint for an ideal situation (family all live together, man works & earns adequately, wife stays at home & minds children). Unfortunately the number of families in "ideal situations" are becoming a rarity.

My first husband would not "allow" me to work. Even though I was offered work. He didn't work himself and was terrified that my status of earning would affect his entitlement to welfare benefit. I don't know what the situation is now, but back then (over 20 years ago) when parents were both unemployed, the benefit was paid to the man of the house. Had I secured employment with his co-operation, as the "earner" in the house, any top-up benefits would have been payable to ME rather than HIM. For him that meant loss of power as well as loss of money. He was quite happy for me to work, cash-in-hand within the home now and again when the opportunity arose!

This is the reality which has formed my own work ethic, my thrifty-ness and general resourcefulness. My experiences could have made me bitter, wasteful and foolish with money. I could have stayed at home after I split from him, thought "poor me" and just got on with being a stay-at-home mother at the taxpayer's expense. God had better plans for me!

The area we lived in produced countless families of children similar ages to my own brood that ended up in a life of crime, drugs etc ... God delivered all of us, praise His name!

Shatoyia - posted on 06/06/2012

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Angela,

I get the point you are making but it isn't biblical. God designed for the husband to work and provide for his family. Titus 2 says that us wives are to be workers at home. The scriptures state over and over that our ministries as wives are first to our husband (as suitable helpers) and then to our children (bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord). We can't follow the culture we must follow God's word. Just because something is accepted culturally doesn't mean it aligns with God's word. Also, just because our kids agree with us or support what we are doing doesn't mean it's right. God and his will for us should be what directs us. I understand single parents must work and married women whose husbands are ill, handicapped, bed-ridden, or in an assisted living home BUT Titus 2 is specific to married Christian women who aren't in any of those situations.

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Uh, Don't forget even church camp in the summer for 1-2 weeks because the parents couldn't be bothered to take them to church on a regular basis the rest of the year. Yet a week or 2 at camp should suffice for their laziness. (Sorry, had to vent. Have family that does this.) AARRRGGGHHH!!

Rebekah - posted on 06/04/2012

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No, you are not the only one that has noticed this. It's the same problem children's ministry leaders are realizing too... 2-3 hours in a church will not have the affect you hope for, it's why now children's ministry leaders are realizing if they don't reach the home and give tools for parents to continue the "children's ministry" at home, that generational gap in the church will continue to widen.

Carla - posted on 05/31/2012

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No, sweetheart, you are not the only one. It used to be that having children WAS a woman's job. I am sorrier than you can know that my generation was the one who told women they were less womanly unless they were out in the work force. We had commercials that showed women working full time, coming home, whipping through a gourmet meal, cleaning, getting homework done, THEN jumping into bed to be the sex kitten. I don't know WHO they were patterning this woman after, but in the REAL world, it was just down-right hard. Now, with the advent of TV, we have become dissatisfied unless we have two new cars, a fabulous house, shopping sprees every weekend, and month-long vacations.

We used to sing a little song in Sunday School, Jesus, Others and You, what a wonderful way to spell joy. J for Jesus (Jesus first), O for others (our family, friends, neighbors) and lastly Y for You. NOW, we put ourselves first. I deserve this, I need this, and on and on. No wonder this world is falling apart! Christians, wake up! Start singing this little song to yourselves, put Jesus where He belongs (first), the people we have contact with second, and ourselves last. When we get our priorities in line, we find perspective for our lives. We DON'T have to have all the wonderful things of the world (and some of the not-so-wonderful). We were put on earth to spread the love of Jesus, and to raise the next generation of witnesses. This is the way we win the world for Jesus and teach others not to buy into Satan's lies (and they ARE lies) about what we need out of life.

Goodness, your question prompted a sermon ;) !! God bless, hon, shine your light in the corner of the world where you are.

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