Don’t you hate it when you’ve worked hard on a project, and full of excitement, you show it to a friend who immediately points out several things they think are wrong with it? Your excitement just deflated like a balloon. That’s exactly what I DON’T want to do with my kids. You weren’t asking for a critique of your project. Now, after the excitement dies down, sure, you want to get some suggestions to help you improve it; but initially, you want some encouragement for all the effort you made getting it to this point.
That analogy helps me to view life from my child’s point of view. The best parent continually learns how to do this. Step into their shoes and try to imagine how they are feeling before you speak. We as parents are responsible to guide our children, to steer them in the right path, to admonish when they are doing wrong, and to lovingly allow them the freedom to fail and learn from their failures.
I think too often however, it’s too easy to see where they need improvement and let that cloud us from recognizing how much improvement they are making. We focus on the negative. We’re just trying to help them, but from their point of view, we can’t ever be pleased with them or what they’ve done.
Instead, we need to dwell on Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.“
Force your mind to look at what your kids have done right. What have they done that is honest or lovely or of good report. Tell them. Praise them. There will come a time for correcting them, but if you concentrate on what they do that is right, on the effort they’ve made even if they’re not perfect yet (and who is?), when that time comes, they will trust you with their heart. When you point out ways they could improve, they will be open to listening because they are convinced you care more about their success than yourself or your way of doing things.
Sure, we could all improve on everything we ever do, but we as parents must learn to be “encouragers”. The world isn’t going to do it. Our home should be the one place where our kids know we have their best interests at heart- a haven where it’s okay to fail in order to learn how to ultimately be successful in God’s eyes.
to be continued….
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