Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

In the world we live in today, how do I teach my kids to be responsible human beings?





Dear Concerned,

First, we model it. Get up at the same time every morning. Brush your teeth, face and hair. Require your children to do the same. Set a time for breakfast and keep it. Go about your daily life demonstrating the qualities of a responsible human being and when your kids ask , “Why?” which they will, because God wouldn’t have given me the only children to incessantly ask, “Why mommy, why?” you tell them, “We brush our teeth so our pretty , little teeth don’t fall out of our heads and we eat breakfast so we grow big and strong, etc. Second, we give it. Scary, I know,but we give our children things, tasks, and so forth in increasing importance and we allow them plenty of space to flub it up when it doesn’t really matter so that when it does, they will be less likely to do so. Practice. Lots of it. Requires patience. Pray for patience.



Dear Concerned,

My husband and I have worked in youth-related jobs for forever… Therefore, this is one of my “soap box” issues! One of the things we saw increasingly frequently was the removal of natural consequences – parents bailing out their kids or making excuses for every little thing… never owning up to their mistakes and developing a sense of entitlement that was unrealistic and selfish. With that said, one thing you can commit yourself to is not standing in the way of the natural consequences that follow your children’s mistakes. Just today, my daughter forgot something that she was required to bring to her dance class. Normally, I would let her just deal with it, but this time it affected someone else. I drove home to get it and then delivered it to her. However, she owes me for the gas money it took to make that extra trip! This has happened one other time… Both times have stood as a great lesson in responsibility. Life is full of consequences. Responsibility is the opposite of entitlement! Training our children to be responsible is a counter-cultural move that takes focus and resolve, but our kids will be so much better for it!

Grace & Peace,


Dear Concerned,

I think we need to be concerned. Snow and Bull are right: teaching responsibility might soon be a lost art. I wonder if one of the biggest issues today is that we want our kids to “like” us. I think we are a bit misguided when we think that being friends with our children is the goal. While I do hope that I will have a friendship with my children, especially as adults, it is not my immediate goal. If I am their friend, who is the parent? It’s interesting that the Bible says that “He disciplines those He loves.” We don’t want our children to suffer. So guess what? We don’t let them. It’s like playing the guitar. When you first start playing, your fingers are soft and squishy. But the more you work through the pain of pressing on the steel strings the tougher your fingertips get, and you begin to develop callouses that enable you to withstand the pain of something that previously hurt. Discipline is that way. Responsibility is something that we teach and instruct and continue to develop. It can be painful to redo chores and take responsibility for our mistakes. Doing a good job and being faithful in a task takes time, instruction, and accountability. The buck stops with the parent. The pain of discipline and training is momentary, but produces a lifetime of a fruitful and productive life.

Concerned, you can do it!



Dear Concerned,

Escaping the Endless Adolescence is a recent book which describes a phenomenon going on in our culture where 25 (years old) is the new 15. The authors call this a “failure to launch,” where adolescents simply can’t make the transition to adulthood. I know that a homeschooling blog might be the wrong venue for my advice, but here goes: I think we may be too available for our kids. Even when we let them leave the house, we are always just a phone call away to help them solve their every problem. The authors of the above book hypothesize (and prove, I believe) that we are actually thwarting and subverting their ability to think when we don’t allow them to struggle through difficult decision and even (horrors) fail. I think my Brain Trust buddies are right – suffering and consequences are natural and right. Let the suffering begin!

Peace be with you (as you suffer),

Looking for more answers????

I feel myself burning out, what do I do?

My kids are close in age and I have a million of them. Am I setting myself up for failure to try and homeschool?

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