40 Days: 19) Raising kids with Akbar

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 ESV)

So the Atigas are right now in London. We fly out tomorrow after roughly 2.5 weeks of traveling abroad. We have our long flight home – please pray for grace for our kids, they haven’t enjoyed the flights as much as I’d expected.

So anyway – we are staying at this typically Londonesque “hotel” in London in the Westminister area near Victoria station. It’s a small yet quaint get-up which has afforded us a walking distance to the attractions I wanted to see in the city, given 2 days and 3 younguns.

This morning at the desk was a delightful Pakistani gentleman receptionist who has greeted us over the last couple of days. His name? Akbar…

He had been conversing with Tina, my wife extensively, and felt like he knew me when I first engaged him in conversation:

“Hello” I said, as I wrestled my son Zion away from the tourist pamphlets one typically sees at hotel receptions.
“Do you want to know how to guarantee how to raise your children to play leading roles in Fortune 500 organisations?”

He immediately pulled out a piece of scrap paper and began to doodle before I could even say yes:


Here’s the three pieces of advice I got from him regarding child rearing:

1) Children must be disciplined to sleep before 9pm regularly. Without fail. I immediately thought of the various time zones my children’s body clocks have been in on this trip.
9pm is relative right?

2) Take them to the library regularly. Apparently according to Akbar, not only the books but the ambience will have a positive effect on the children being quiet places where people can process thought.

3) For the amounts of money most people spend on themselves, 90% will go on things invested from the neck down, and 10%

on chin up.
Reverse your spending where 90% is spent on the chin up, and 10% neck down.
I thought it meant outward vs inward, but apparently it really was neck down (ie gym, health, food, clothing etc) and chin up (ie anything from make up to mind development).

Sure did make me think despite the definite validity of Akbars advice, about what really matters to me as a parent and the vision that I have for my children. I do like the regularity of the application of the first two things (regularity is definitely something I long to see more of in my life). But seriously, here’s the vision I have as a parent, and although you may think differently, it doesn’t necessarily include a Fortune 500 company. I did say, necessarily right. Let me just give you three factors of what I want to see in my kids lives:

1) They must grow in their knowledge and experience of God I know some of y’all may think this a give in, but I want them all to know King Jesus, know the message of the cross, and the power of Him in their own lives.

2) They must live out loud the life that God intended for them life is too short for non-adventure. One thing I never want to hear from my kids lips is, “Im bored”. Boredom to me is an insult to Christ who died that we may have life abundantly, not mediocrely.

3) They must grow in love for the church and the unchurched. This is one I want to grow in too… Christ laid his life down for sinners, because he loved us… That pretty much is my model for life with people. Love hard!

Yes I will apply some of what I learnt from Akbar, we could all do with some library time and some early nights. But my question really is: does it help us if the end objective is one that doesn’t matter in the scope of eternity?

reflection/discussion question: What does “living life to the fullest” mean to you? Are you living this way? Why/why not?


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