Do you spoil your kids?

I think we do.  Is it weird to you that we have some guilt about bringing our kids to the mission field?  Our son David has attended 7 different schools before completing 6th grade.  Who knows how many different churches our kids have been a part of?  We have lived in so many different houses as we rented and moved from one impermanent position to another while we strived to keep the idea of missions living in our home.  Then we moved to the mission field throwing our children into a new culture and new language without asking their permission or even their opinion. They have made new friends and lost old friends over and over again.  They have gone months without having any friends except each other.  They have had teachers mock them in their classes because that is an accepted learning style in some countries.  They have had teachers threaten to hit them with a small stick or a small whip for not working fast enough.  They have sat in classes without understanding and without being understood.  We feel guilty and maybe more accurately sad at times for what we have put them through.  And I will tell you that it makes us want to spoil them.  When we see them respond bravely to so many situations, and when we watch them go without much complaint day after day into a hard situation, we want to say enough is enough.  I don’t want to be the one to make your life any harder.  So yes, you can have that candy!  Yes, you can watch that video!  Yes, I will try my best to get you an Xbox 360 for Christmas!  I think of what they miss and suffer and how well they respond, and I want to spoil them.  Maybe you did not know, but this is one of the biggest struggles of parenting we face.  How do we raise our kids well without spoiling them when we want to make their lives easier in whatever way we can?  Please pray for us that we will be wise, balancing generosity with self-control and self-restraint.  Pray that we will teach them the discipline of self denial while we try to assuage our guilty consciences by giving them what they want.  Please pray that we will be good parents.

(Here they are waiting in another interminable Peruvian line!)