How can parents guarantee that the values they are diligently pouring into their children will stick?
How can you ensure that they won’t be inclined to exchange the blessings of your home life for the cheap thrills they will surely be offered, that can take them decades to recover from?
Talk to your children.
This may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many parents don’t do this. While we need to be careful not to speak with them like they’re our buddy so they don’t respect us, and we need to speak to them on their level, yet we need to be friends with our children so that they feel free to come and talk to us about anything. If they’re having a problem understanding why your family does things in a certain way, talk to them about it. If they’re acting oddly, talk to them. Talk to them and listen to what they’re telling you. Give them undivided attention. We want our children to share their hearts without feeling that we’ll condemn them. If they can’t talk to you, you can be sure they’ll find someone else to talk to.
Sometimes, children have an aptitude for a calling that is not deemed acceptable by the parents. It’s our job as parents to spot the gifts and talents that our children have and nurture them and channel them in the right direction. Failure to do this can leave children bitter. Guard against having unrealistic expectations for your children.
Encourage means to give courage. Do this by loving them exactly the way they are. Praise them, not for the things they accomplish, but for the character qualities displayed while they achieved something. “You worked really hard on your room today!” or “your diligent practice paid off when you scored today.”
Give yourself to your children.
It is possible to go days and even weeks without realizing you’ve been so wrapped up in your “adult stuff” that you’ve hardly even noticed these little ones around you. You suddenly notice that they’re longing for your attention but you’ve been too busy or selfish to give them what they want most. Ask them to forgive you and resolve to give yourself to your children. Go play with them. Get down on their level. Cuddle with them. Tell them how much you love them. Treat them as real people with thoughts, feelings and hopes. Be interested in them. If you lose your temper, ask them to forgive you. Play together as a family. Wrap them in a blanket and tell them they are your little burrito and that you’re going to eat them!
Roughhouse with your kids.
Our children should so come to love the atmosphere and fragrance of joy and hope that resonates through our homes and their lives, that the thought of exchanging those blessings for cheap thrills leaves them frigid.