When my kids were little, I would lie down with them at night when I was putting them down to bed. I’d pray with each one individually. I’d try to think of even one thing they did that day that was good and I’d mention it to God in prayer as I prayed with them. Sometimes, I’d peak and see a big smile spread over their face as I mentioned their name to God in prayer, thanking Him that “_________” did a diligent job today as she wiped the crumbs from the counter (for instance). The next day, I’d notice she was extra diligent at her job of wiping the counters. She realized that I had noticed she’d been trying and even mentioned it to God which reminded her that God does see all that we do. When we do a good job at even menial tasks we are doing our best for our Lord.
Colossians 3:17 “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
Learn to become alert to opportunities to encourage your kids. Learn to watch them as they attempt to do things. Watch their eyes, listen to the excitement in their voices over some project they attempted or want to attempt. Don’t be the person who “throws cold water” on every idea they come up with. Let them attempt to try things that you maybe know won’t even work. Failure is one of our best teachers!
We’ve included a story in our new book Character in Action: Taking the Next Steps of a little girl, who at five years old, heard of children in a third world country who were dying from not having clean drinking water. The missions organization said a new well costs $4000. She told her mom and dad she wanted to raise money for the new well. They were skeptical at first thinking maybe she would be able to raise a few dollars towards the well and wisely they didn’t want to discourage her. She began telling everyone she knew and soon got opportunities to “speak” at Kiwanis clubs and other organizations. She wrote her appeal in her own handwriting on a simple piece of poster board and asked her audience to count to 8 with her. Then she said, ” There now another child has died.” (in the time it took them to count to eight). She raised over $5000 in 5 weeks time, and those kids got a new well! Those were wise parents. They really had no idea she would ever be able to do it, but they let her try and helped her out by taking her around to her speaking opportunities.
As your kids begin to grow up, be sensitive to times they need to talk things over and make time in your schedule to talk with them. I spent many a late night talking things over with my older kids after the younger ones had gone off to bed for the night.
Mom, you need to be the shoulder your kids can lean on. You need to be their best cheerleader. You need to spur them on to accomplish great things when others say they’ll never be able to do it. You need to be the sounding board to let them verbalize their ideas, concerns and hesitations. Sometimes they just need a listening ear to let them talk and direction will crystallize as they think out loud about choices they need to make. Encourage them that God wants to use them. As they learn to be willing vessels, God can work through them to do things they never dreamed of. Be to your kids the kind of encourager you wish someone had been to you!