There’s a phenomenon happening in my life, which I took notice through my social media timelines. What used to be party and travel photos have now become photos of tiny hands, feet, and everything little. Also, the invites to parties I get now involve the words “baby,” “shower” and “children.”
Suddenly, I am no longer surrounded by souls who crave for wanderlust but friends who are consumed by pre-schools, baby showers, and raising kids. The time has come for me to accept that members of my age group are slowly settling down. They now make decision not just for themselves but for the family they wish to build in the future.
And ultimately, the way they now raise kids are reactively different from the way our parents raised us. Times have really changed due to technology.
This was all running in my head when my life mentor Yay Olmedo shared with me her talk about raising kids in a world with many complexities due to the digital age.
Ms. Yay (as I still fondly call her) is a seasoned speaker, author, professor, and a brilliant advertising and marketing expert. It is humbling to note that she has guided me from the moment she became my professor in college and it’s a blessing to be mentored by her.
As a mom and a grandmother, Ms. Yay is also an expert in raising excellent children.
Having shared her experiences in her book, Grandparenting: Happiness and Work, she is often invited to speak about her experiences. A recent invitation gave her the opportunity to minister to parents of students performing in the culminating activity of Zion Praise Music.
She reflects, “It’s as if my generation of parents, or even parents younger than us, have been sucked into a time warp—dealing with millennials who are totally detached from the values their parents grew up in.”
She goes on to say that these days, those who make an effort to do right are sneered at instead of encouraged. She explained, “Those who believe in absolute truths have been put on the defensive. Imagine governments banning prayers in school or in sports events, crosses being removed from public places because they offend people of other faiths or un-faiths.”
The reversals embedded within the current culture have made it more difficult for parents to rein in their kids. More families tend to provide a “free-spirited” way of upbringing that may result in children who are unkind, narcissistic, and most importantly, irresponsible adults. This can be seen in what youngsters perceive as goals (being insta-famous) and how they treat peers online.
Ms. Yay, however, believes that raising good and kindhearted kids is not impossible in the millennial context of things. She believes that all it takes is a good foundation that begins at home.
“If children grow up with parents tolerant of a ‘live and let live’ lifestyle, or if their peers have a stronger pull on their kids, many go through life anchor-less. But it’s complicated. I know of some parents who try their best to train and discipline their children, yet fail to rein them in,” she elaborates.
She also notes the importance of spending time with kids, getting to know their kids and being generally involved in their lives. She also says that parents can make a huge impact in the lives of their kids by being present and most importantly, living a life that is reflective of their “talk.” She explains, “Kids are just a reflection of their parents, generally speaking. But let’s be clear about it—kids could not entirely blame their parents for who they are. At one point in life, a child needs to decide for himself if he will let dysfunction master him or live life in accordance to God’s will.”
It’s all about keeping an open communication and instilling in kids the importance of specific values that they will go back to at the end of the day when tempted with the things of the world. It’s about making sure the home is a safe place so they don’t look for love or attention elsewhere.
But at the end of the day, all it takes to build a solid home is by building it on prayer, “Parents need to pray, and pray hard—if it’s the only thing left to do. I believe God answers the cries of those who truly seek him. Nothing is impossible with God.”
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For more on parenting, Yay Olmedo’s book, Grandparenting: Happines and Hardwork and Sorry to Burst Your Bubbles, is available at OMF Literature.