Tag Archive | teaching children

Blog Post #2 in a Series: Dr. Kevin Leman Interview

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This excerpt is from the article

“The Child Is Father of the Man”: Dr. Kevin Leman on Childhood Memories

by Alicea Jones from an interview with Christian psychologist, author and humorist, Dr. Kevin Leman on how our pasts affect how we parent.

Q – How do you explain why some people who grew up in challenging home environments defeat the odds by making good of their lives?

A – How did I deal with a dad who was an alcoholic and drank too many brewskies most of his life? I never drank a beer. You see in families that lots of times an alcoholic father produces the alcoholic son; the alcoholic daughter. So you either fight them or join them. Part of that is the resiliency that’s in their personality. It becomes their thing to do things well, to pursue excellence, to be different from whatever [they] had to grow up with. Some people will turn their back on that [dysfunction] and live a life that is exemplary. Others won’t. I don’t have a magic answer to that. Some fall by the wayside. Some suck it up and go a different direction.

I, like many, was one of those who sucked it up and went a different direction. Propelled by a mother who hung in there even though she had to raise six children on her own, I wanted to make her proud of me.  I was also influenced by an aunt who told me stories about achieving impossible dreams. Those stories, a desire to live differently and wanting to bring happiness to my mother were my driving forces. But I wonder about those who don’t make it–those who fall by the wayside. Maybe the big difference is having positive role models. Perhaps if I hadn’t, I would have gone the wrong way. What do you think? What factors make the difference in influencing a young person’s life?

Photo: Thinkstock

The Best Thing We Can Do

86495715As a new mother, I wanted to know how to raise a happy, healthy child. I read that spending quality time with your children was important. The latest books on child rearing also said that words of affirmation build a good sense of self-esteem. Teaching children to be polite, thankful and compassionate also helped to build character, the books said. I tried to do all of these things as I followed the wisdom of the day.

But now that my child is an adult and I have an opportunity to look back, I see that one of the greatest things a mom can do is to walk humbly with God, follow his ways and do right in his eyes. But how does that help our children?

As I read 1 and 2 Kings in the Bible, I learn about David and how God considered him faithful and a man after God’s own heart. Although David was flawed and committed sin, he trusted God for all of his needs above anyone or anything else. As a result, God promised David that one of his heirs would always sit on the throne as long as they walked in the ways of the Lord.

When our children see us trusting God for all of our needs, placing nothing or no one above Him, and walking in his ways, we bless them by laying out an example for their lives. More important, we bless God and God blesses us, our children and their children—long after we’re gone.

Yes, spending time quality time with and affirming our children are good measures. However, I’m convinced the best, most enduring gift we can give to our children is our relationship with God, placing him above anything else and walking in his ways as we trust him with our and our children’s lives.

What does it look like for a mom to walk in the ways of the Lord? Chime in as you’re led!

Check out Exodus 20:6

Crying, Cringing, Sweating

My daughter was gripped with fear when she was learning to swim. Even though the lesson was only a half hour, I spent half of that time trying to pry her four-year-old fingers from the guardrail. Every week, it was the same thing: un-prying, coaxing, crying, sweating. . And no matter what bribe I offered, she refused to get into the pool. All the other kids were in the pool splashing and having fun.  I was so embarrassed in front of the other mothers. They glared at me as my child whipped me in a game of wills every week. I felt defeated.

I think every mom feels defeated at some point in her life. Have you felt that way—as if your repeated attempts to teach your child are met with crying, clenching and sweat? Take heart. My daughter is now in high school and is an adept swimmer. Yes, it took many tries, but finally, she waded into the pool on her own and can now teach others to swim.

How has perseverance paid off in your role as a mother?

Scripture: Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

Photo courtesy Microsoft Images

Children’s Sense of Worth

In what ways can we challenge our children to think about the gifts and talents God has planted within them?

My wise friend Veta recently said that, “As parents, we need to teach our children to search for their own sense of worth through the eyes of Jesus. The more they know who Jesus is, the more they will understand their value.”

You mean my child’s sense of self-worth isn’t totally my responsibility?

We want our kids to feel secure so we provide the normal things such as love, comfort and as much as we can, a sense of normalcy. We even applaud them for their accomplishments. But what else can we do to empower them to find their real sense of worth in  God?

So here’s the challenge: The next time your child asks if they are special, how will you steer them to learn their value in Christ?

 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. . . Psalm 139:13-14

Photo courtesy Microsoft Free Images

Pleasing Wanted

A young woman named Pleasing gave birth to a child she named Wanted. Pleasing’s goal in life was to make sure Wanted was always happy. Pleasing’s childhood was fraught with sadness and she wanted a different life for her child.

She fed Wanted only the foods that made him happy. She let him pull the dog’s tail and bite the neighbor kid because it brought Wanted joy. As Wanted grew older, Pleasing made sure to attend to his every need so that he would remain happy. She did all the household chores and protested when his teachers admonished him for not turning in his homework. Schoolwork made Wanted feel stifled and kept him from what really made him happy: sleeping in late and playing video games. When Wanted became an adult, Pleasing made sure he had the money he needed for dates and gasoline for his car. She continued to clean his room, cooked his meals and did his laundry. These things made Wanted happy.

In middle age, Pleasing had gone bankrupt and was weary after all the years of making Wanted happy. She couldn’t figure out why other mothers in the neighborhood had the energy to do fun things and why their children seemed self-sufficient. They had all started careers and families of their own. Wanted, on the other hand, was still living at home, had become overweight, unhealthy, dependant on others and had no friends. Pleasing couldn’t figure out why Wanted felt so empty and depressed.

Hadn’t she done everything to make him happy? Pleasing wondered.

My sweet mother, this is a fictional story of course.  Nevertheless, through it, I pause to think about my role as parent. Perhaps you can relate on some level with Pleasing. She wanted to save her child from the unhappiness she innocently experienced as a child. Perhaps you too want your children to experience a happiness you never knew. While there is nothing wrong with being happy, can I persuade you to think about wholeness over happiness? What you needed as a child and what your children need is a wholeness that comes with proper perspective. What makes a child whole are love and nurture, but also teaching and discipline. That means our children will not always be happy. They will not like us sometimes. But that’s just fine because what we want them to have is something better: the joy and confidence that comes with a personal character that is in alignment with God’s design.

Scriptures: The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice. Proverbs 23: 24-25

The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. Proverbs 29:15

Prayer: Lord, please help me to raise my children in the way you have lovingly directed. Please help me to teach and discipline them and not grow weary. Help me to see the big picture of their lives and not give in to their unhealthy wants today.

Photo compliments of Wikipedia