My children regularly (at my direction) offer prayers and teach family home evening lessons. They are confident and articulate. They participate in Family Council, where they are encouraged to share their opinions, which are listened to and valued. We implement some of their suggestions. They are (with the occasional exception of one uppity teen) content with their place and their role in the family. One of my children even said the other day, “I would hate to have all the responsibilities parents have!”
Parts of the responsibility for maintaining our home and family life are (under my direction) delegated to the children. They are allowed to choose furnishings for their rooms and are responsible for the care and maintenance of those rooms. They often (with my permission and under my direction) grocery shop (with the money I magnanimously give them) and prepare meals all by themselves. In all of these responsibilities, of course, their decisions are subject to parental review.
My children have a unique place in the family–as children, they see the world in fresh and new ways, and have an eagerness and hopefulness that is a necessary component of family life. They are loved and deeply valued, even though they are young, and even because of their youth. Our family would not be what it is without them. A couple of weeks ago, one of their teachers said, “your children are incredible!” I couldn’t agree more.
Still, I wouldn’t say they’re my equals.