What The Stock Market Teaches Us About Parenting

Last weekend at Johnson Ferry, we hosted David Benzel for a time of coaching for parents. He had a number of great things to share about developing the character of our kids.

One illustration he made was particularly encouraging, especially in light of the fact that the parenting journey is a long one with many daily trials. For example, you can expect  very little praise or affirmation. You can have many seasons that are difficult, even depressing. You can feel like your days are void of any real purpose or meaning.

Benzel had the group imagine a giant line graph of the Dow-Jones Industrial Average stretching across the front of the room. He pointed out that when you stretch a hundred years of that graph our over 100 feet from one side of the room to the other, it tells a pretty wonderful story. It has a beautiful "up and to the right" look that screams success and growth. When you look at it from far away, you think, "I like the way that thing is going. I want to be a part of that!"

DJIA_1900_2009.jpg

But he pointed out that if you get up close to the graph and see the daily and weekly ups and downs of the market, it looks like a roller coaster. A scary one. It is inconsistent and unreliable. You never know what each day will bring.

Even worse, if you didn't know the whole story and looked only at a few key windows of time, you would conclude that the whole thing is a disaster. I'm thinking of the crash of 1929, Black Monday in 1987, or the economic crisis we experienced just a few years ago.

Hopefully, you get the illustration as it relates to parenting our children. This is a marathon, not a sprint. If we lose sight of the big picture, then the discouraging things that we encounter every day can cause us to lose hope. We must regularly step back far enough to consider the big ways over the long haul that God is "causing all things to work together for good" in the lives of our kids.

If today is a difficult one, take a little time to reflect on the good things that you have seen God do in the lives of your kids over the past few years. Celebrate these victories and praise God for them. Then ask Him to give you hope in the middle of whatever struggle you are having with your kids today.

A little invested in the strongest parts of the stock market 100 years ago would be worth a fortune today. Our kids represent that same sort of investment...one that promises to yield incredible dividends over the long haul. May we never lose sight of that reality during seasons of "recession."