In the busy world we live in, we expect kids to obey and do it right now! When they don’t, we often threaten, take away privileges or ground them.
When we are tired, it is easier to get angry and harsh in our responses. When expectations are unclear, there are more arguments.
Obedience versus responsibility
We want our kids to obey. We also want them to become responsible. Obedience without understanding both choices and consequences, however, does not help kids become responsible. While there will be times when obedience without question is necessary, especially when danger is a factor, those should be the exception.
When we feel good about ourselves, we are ready to tackle the world. Bring it on! Nothing is too tough. Whatever happens we believe in our ability to handle it.
Brennan Manning in his book, “Abba’s Child,” quotes David Seamon from his book, “Healing for Damaged Emotions”, who writes that many Christians are defeated by Satan’s most powerful psychological weapon.
“This weapon has the effectiveness of a deadly missile. Its name? Low self-esteem. Satan’s greatest psychological weapon is a gut level feeling of inferiority, inadequacy and low self-worth.”
He goes on to say that even when we believe and have had “wonderful spiritual experiences”, low self esteem can “shackle” us and keep us from living a full life that God has put in place.
I have had some excellent teachers in my life and some that were downright lousy. In school they played an important role in helping me understand difficult subjects so I could learn.
What makes a good teacher?
For me, a good teacher is someone who is interested in helping you learn. They define their topics and goals and the steps needed to accomplish them and offer encouragement and motivation to achieve. As parents, we are also teachers.
Learning is a lifelong process. As a parent, we are teaching our children about how to be responsible adults as they go through childhood.
In my blog, Navigation, I wrote about the importance of rewarding children for the tiny steps they make toward a predetermined goal. Some children will need many tiny steps that are rewarded as they move toward the ultimate goal.
There is a kid in all of us. Sometimes we tie him up so he can’t say, “I’m tired of working so hard. I want to go play.”
Every kid needs time to play. That is true for us as adults as well. There is a kid in each of us who wants to fling out his arms and race down the hill with wild abandon while laughing for the sheer joy of laughing.
Play for the health of it
Play is that medium that releases the bubble of life inside each of us, inviting us to get off the merry-go-round of schedules and simply be. It liberates us from the pressure of work, stress and time constraints to let go and have fun.
Play – it can be individual or a group effort. It can be the simple act of working on a project that has no merit other than it is fun and pleasing in some way. It may be a solitaire state of being as you sit and watch an ant hard at work gathering and collecting bits of food, or a spider deviously waiting on his web of deception for that unsuspecting insect to land and be captured.
Can you imagine getting in your car and driving down the freeway without first going through driver’s training to learn what you could and could not do? And to know that others also were required to get such training.
We may get annoyed with speed limits, aggressive drivers, etc. but the “rules of the road” help us drive with some sense of safety and precaution.
There are “rules of the road” of life in general that we need to learn; social, cultural, psychological, physical, spiritual. We learn manners, respect for others, compassion, restrictions, limitations, time management and how to care for ourselves. We learn the basics of problem solving and critical thinking and how to discern and evaluate choices.
We take these everyday rules for granted but without them, civilization as we know it would soon deteriorate.
I’m Not a Parent – Should I Continue?
If your parenting years are behind you, you may be wondering what this series on parenting can offer you. There are several reasons why this would be relevant at any time.
We often approach parenting as something that simply occurs over time without much thought. We have daycare, both parents working, career building and long distance family members. And yet, we all know that parenting involves more.
Our kids need our time, not only to teach them how to abide by rules, respect others and learn to cooperate, but also to help them develop positive self esteem, socialization skills and responsibility.
The importance of being a good parent is oftentimes underrated and not fully appreciated. And yet, it is one of the most important jobs we will ever have.
Unconditional Love, Discipline and Grace
I believe there are three very important but basic things we can give our children as they grow up: unconditional love, discipline (structure) and grace. I like to think of it as 3 keys to unlocking the healthy potential for our children.
To feel good about himself, a child needs to feel acceptance and love. Unconditional love says to our child I love and accept you just as you are; you are valued even when I disapprove and am unhappy with your behavior.
It does not mean that they can do whatever they want to do, when they want, or to whom they want. It does not mean that bad manners, being disrespectful or inconsiderate is tolerated or accepted. We love the child but reprimand and correct the behaviors. Misbehavior or hurtful behavior is not acceptable, but they are.
When a child feels loved, they can work on correcting behaviors that are not up to standard and
As we start the New Year, I am continuing my series on Relationships. In this new section, the focus will be on families and parenting and the importance of being an integral part of your child’s upbringing.
In a busy world where more and more time is consumed in making a living, finding quality time to be with our children can be a challenge.
But whether you are a parent or a grandparent, this essential time spent with our families is vital to the health and wellbeing of our children and grandchildren, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually.
Families of Origin
We are a mixture of many things: our personality traits (our habitual patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion), DNA, where we were born, our position in the family, the culture we grow up in, all the experiences we have had, etc.
“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” Helen Keller
Christmas: a shining star – a break from the tedious schedules we find ourselves in.
But Christmas is more than a nice diversion – a blurb on the radar screen of our hectic lives.
For a moment in time we escaped the drudgery, the pressures, anxiety, and uncertainties.
For a moment in time we humbly knelt before the Christ Child whose birthday we celebrate.
For a moment in time we laid down our heavy burdens of doubt and fear and unanswered questions.
And now Christmas is over for another year: the torn wrappings stuffed in bags ready for the garbage pickup; bows packed away to use again next year. Families have returned home, and we collapse in an easy chair, take a deep sigh of relief and try to relax.
We are left with an afterglow of loving moments, age old songs that brought joy to our spirits and rituals that filled our hearts with special remembrances.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
We have heard the story so many times in Christmas cards, articles and sermons. It is a familiar and treasured tradition – a tradition that today is being challenged on many fronts.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11 -King James Version (KJV)
Who is this God
Who is this God who sent His Son as a vulnerable baby to a self-serving world of treachery and deceit? A God who loves us more than we can imagine. A God who knocks gently at our hearts and waits for us to invite Him in.