A Better Way: How to bring out the best in kids
Every parent has dreams for their children. As parents, we all start out with the best intentions. Although, at some point, we move from lofty dreams to more realistic appraisals. Raising kids in today’s culture is a difficult challenge and it requires a plan. Without a plan, parents usually default to focusing on today’s problem rather than looking more long-term at the more important underlying issues. But how we parent each day will impact a child’s future.
Bottom Line: Bringing out the best in others is intentional, not accidental.
Something To Talk About:
- Accept their uniqueness completely: One of the great tasks of parenting is helping your child or children realize that they are unique, that they don’t have to compare themselves to anybody else, they don’t have to measure up to anybody else, they don’t have to be like anybody else, they are an original and God doesn’t intend for them to be a carbon copy. The Bible tells us that God intentionally makes everybody different. The world would be incredibly boring if He made us all the same. On top of that, there would be a lot of work that wouldn’t get done. Because if we all liked the same thing, there would be a whole lot of things that nobody liked to do and wouldn’t get done. The way that everything gets done in the world is that God makes us all different.
- Affirm their value constantly: You also have to affirm their value to them. “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” (Psalm 139:13-14) God knew this baby was going to come into the world and even as that baby was being formed in the mother’s body, He shaped the baby in an incredible and wonderful way. He gave value to that baby even before it was born. Each one has value. As parents, it is our job to convey that value to our kids. How do we convey that to them? We have to do it in deliberate and intentional ways, in ways that they can understand. The first way to affirm another person’s value is through attention. The missing factor in most families today is the time factor. We don’t spend a lot of time together. Parents are going in one direction, kids are going in another direction, and our lives are frantic and busy. Busyness fills a schedule but it fractures a family.
- How does our changing culture most challenge you as a parent?
- When it comes to exposing your kids to culture, have you tended to overexpose or underexpose? Why?
- How does one go about accepting our kid’s uniqueness? Why is it important we accept their uniqueness completely?
- Why is it so easy to compare children?
- How do we measure conformity in our children?
- Would you call yourself a distracted parent? Why or why not? What’s the worst distraction for you? What is a strategy you can use to develop a devotional time with your family?
- How do we give our children more verbal attention?
- How are you maintaining a culture of communication and conversation in your home? How can you become a better listener to your child?
- How can we better affirm our kids on a weekly level?
- What about the message sticks with you over time? Why?
Take one thing home with you:
And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
The Deuteronomy passage is a roadmap for how we are to live out our faith in front of our children. What we believe must make its way into our daily attitudes, conversations, and routines. If we want our kids to have a growing faith and love God’s Word, we need to demonstrate its importance in our lives. A “Do as I say, not as I do” approach to parenting will fall flat. We can’t fake it as parents. We need to read His Word daily. Connect with your church. Make God’s Word a necessary part of our daily life. Allow your kids to be a part of that process. Allow them to see the importance and joy of God’s Word in your life. They will learn to lean on God and develop a growing love for Him and His Word.