Why are kids dependent for so long?

My 35 year old daughter – who is married and has two children – recently moved back in with us.

I find it interesting that children stay connected to their parents longer than any other creatures on earth. Within a few hours, days or weeks most baby animals have learned to hunt or hide, how to eat and not get eaten and off they go. Sometimes being chased off by their parents.

Human babies take years before they can provide for themselves. Why is that?

Certainly it’s by God’s design and the reason is an important one for every parent to understand.

I grew up on the Illinois-Iowa border. It’s farm country known mostly for corn and pigs. If you throw pigs food and provide some care they will become all God intended them to be. With food and a little care kids will grow up, too. But children require more than physical care to become all God intended them to be.

Unlike animals, the human has a spirit that God intends for parents to shape. Spiritual training takes time. So God made children physically dependent upon their parents for much longer to give parents a chance to train them spiritually.

The parent that only prepares a child to get a good job, handle money wisely, be nice and stay out of trouble hasn’t done much more than the farmer who threw the pig some food and took care of its physical needs. That child will grow up looking good and may even win a few blue ribbons. But such a child is totally unprepared for the truly important matters of life – matters which impact eternity.

At creation God modeled child training for parents.

He spoke light into existence. He spoke all flora and fauna into being. But to create man He got His hands dirty. He formed man with His own fingers. He invested time walking and talking with him every day.

From God’s example we see that training our children requires getting our hands dirty – spending time with them, digging down into their heart and soul to shape their spirit.

And this involvement in their lives is really to last a lifetime. We were delighted to have our daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren living with us while they were house hunting during a transition to a civilian job after ten years in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot. What an opportunity to invest in their lives spiritually.

God’s plan is we remain connected and investing in the spiritual growth of our children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren if possible. That is why he made them dependent for so long and, I believe, perhaps one reason He often makes us dependent upon them in later years.

The wind blows, and we are gone–as though we had never been here. But the love of the LORD remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children. Psalm 103:16-17 NLT

 Your Turn

What are some ways parents “get their hands dirty” in training their children?
What do you think is the difference between just raising children and training them? Examples?

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