Our Wired Children

In a special edition on the human mind, Scientific American reported earlier this year that evidence now exists to show that from birth, boys and girls have “differently wired brains.” This comes as no surprise to most parents who have raised children of both sexes. What it means, however, is that the individual nurturing of children is important from a very early age.

Children are more than the natural result of biological functions. Each child is unique. Furthermore, the Bible tells us that they are created, not after the animal kind but in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). This relates to the way the human mind, whether male or female, functions. Unlike other forms of life, humans come equipped with mind power capable of processing large amounts of information. Human minds have the ability to accumulate knowledge, learn its significance, grow in understanding and the ability to think and reason, and act on conclusions.

Children are born with enormous potential, and it is principally the parents’ responsibility to develop that potential. Anyone contemplating parenthood needs to consider seriously this responsibility. Perhaps the gravity of such an obligation lies at the root of why so many couples today delay having children or simply choose not to. Responsibility requires effort and sacrifice. But the pendulum also seems to swing between avoidance of taking on the challenge of family and overextending ourselves in the hope that scheduling a plethora of activities will influence our children to become successful members of society.

Children can be a wonderful blessing of happiness and joy, helping to create a positive family unit, which in turn becomes the basis of a stable society. The manner in which we raise our children thus influences the type of society we live in.

The Bible is quite clear in regard to parental responsibility. Of the laws of God we are told, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:7). To do this, parents must first be anchored in moral principles and values. Then they should teach those principles to their children by example and instruction.

Clearly the emphasis is placed on time spent together. The terms sit, walk, lie down and rise up cover all aspects of daily living. Teaching children and positively influencing their “differently wired brains” requires dedicated fathers and mothers who love their children enough to spend time with them, both collectively and individually. While extra classes and sporting activities can be very helpful, they should not become the center around which the family revolves. The main teaching of how to live should come from within the family structure. Children need to be nurtured in a home where parents are committed to transferring positive values to their offspring, and this process requires time and personal attention.

There is unquestionably no substitute for a positive home environment to provide children the best possible opportunity for growth, happiness and success in life. Time spent in raising children is arguably the most valuable investment of all and will return great dividends.