Technically this should be part of the Snippet Series, since it’s old, but I’ve decided to reserve that for more literary works. Practical works are timeless, in a way, so I don’t think I need to emphasize when I wrote them.
This isn’t very sharply hewn, but it was written to be a presentation, not a document.
So my mother tasked me with the job of helping her write a “lecture” about how to raise genius kids.
But I can’t write something like that on the spot, especially since I’m only the child and didn’t do any of the raising, and I don’t have much expert knowledge on the subject.
However, I can help out by saying that I think the way the topic is phrased is not properly focused. We shouldn’t be striving to populate the world with geniuses. There’s a Korean child prodigy by the name of Kim Ung-yong, who has the highest recorded IQ in human history. He speaks several languages, started being a guest student in a physics class at age 3, and worked for NASA at the age of 16. And now he’s just trying to live an ordinary life, and he’s encouraging others to do the same. There’s a long list of child prodigies who grew up normal.
Parents want the best for their kids. And the best does not mean being a genius. Nor does the best mean being an overachiever. It doesn’t matter how many instruments you’ve played, how many facts you’ve memorized, or how many medals you’ve garnered.
As Paul says in Philippians 3:8, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” We can join the rat’s race and clamor after all the flashy things that the world wants. But that’s not what satisfies the soul, and that’s not what’s best for your child.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all these things shall be added unto you.” Don’t worry. Just don’t. Just train up a child in the way he should go, and everything will fall into place. Just like how the second circle in the 4 Spiritual Laws booklet shows a life that is orderly and peaceful because God is at the center, God’s centrality in the lives of our children will have the same effect. We need to trust that when it comes to our kids. What is true in our lives should reflect in how we raise our children.
Raise your child to seek wisdom, and he will be guided in the knowledge he comes across. If you value knowledge too much and wisdom too little, your child may acquire knowledge the way the world does, and he may fail to see God’s design in what exists, and the Truth may be taken from him.
Raise your child to value hard work, honesty, discipline and excellence, and not grades. This will teach him to persevere when he struggles, get back up when he fails, and to stand strong against the easy way out.
Raise your child to value respect, humility and teamwork, and he will know how to follow as well as how to lead, and he will see how the two are symbiotic and equal.
Most importantly, raise your child to love as Jesus loved – because, as Paul said, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” Love is the greatest thing we have, as Christians, as humans. It is the key to life, and therefore the best thing God wants your child to have.
If you raise your child up with the proper values and with the proper mindset, you won’t have just a genius. You’ll have a gamechanger. You will have brought into the world someone who honors, serves and loves God, and makes it known and felt, and that should be the greatest goal of any Christian parent.
Our God is the God of the impossible. He is the God who builds nations, heals the multitudes, and brings abundance to those who have few. He is our children’s God too. The sooner we help our darlings realize that the sooner miracles can happen. Our children are not called to success. They are called to service.
The world needs servant leaders, for even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve. The world needs harvesters, for the harvest is plenty. The world needs good Samaritans – in the fullness of the kindness of a stranger. The world does not need another prideful idol for its admiration. So pray, earnestly, for the Lord’s will to be done in your child’s life, and surrender, as Mary did.