What does this look like on a daily basis? How do we set our children up for success no matter the circumstances? By being present, being engaged – putting our phones and our duties aside and engaging in life with our kids.
As parents, we often feel the need to make sure we are covering all the bases with our children, from getting all the academics in, to rounding things out with extracurricular activities including, music, sports, dance, drama etc. – not to mention making sure they are decent human beings and contributing members of society. I would like to challenge you with the idea that, instead of classes and lists where we check off the accomplishments that we feel they should perform for the sake of a superior education, that our REAL calling as parents is to invest time and intention into our children by doing everything we can to set them up for success in life and relationships.
Did you ever picture being your child’s parent and being your child’s cheerleader as equally important? I have found this to be especially true with my children who have learning or character struggles, but it is true across the board. All children, all people, need someone to believe in them, mentor them and then tell them just how special they really are. This takes time and effort to observe your child and watch for those areas of strength and weakness so that you can encourage them through the challenges and praise them in their successes. Is this easy to do? No. Does it come naturally to all parents? No. Does it take time, intention, and effort on your part? Absolutely! Will it make a lasting impact on not only your children but your life as well? Yes, and in more ways than you can possibly imagine. It happens when we establish this pattern of building our children up and getting excited about each learning discovery and achievement, when we praise them in the times they exhibit character, and integrity while modeling what these look like in our own lives. It happens when we point out ways we see others modeling character or the consequences of poor choices. This will benefit you children in amazing ways. Studies prove growing up in a nurturing, encouraging, love of learning environment will impact your children and everyone they come into contact with! Talk about the best way to raise real world-changers!
But how do we do this on a daily basis? I remember a young mother sharing with me how her son would wake early (a lot earlier than she liked to be awake) and would bound into her room, smiling and excited about the day ahead. One such morning, instead of her usual grumping that he was up too early and to go back to bed, she met him with a smile and a hug. “I am so glad to see you,” she said, and she meant it. His surprised look at her new reaction was confirmation that this was the way she wanted to be, and for her son to see her every morning. Small changes like this can set the tone for your whole day. In these situations, it is often all about the perspective and attitude we choose to approach our children with that can make the biggest impact. Every moment and interaction we have a choice about our countenance and attitude. What are you modeling for your children, spouse and to those around you? Is it the message you want to send or does your message need some intentional work?
Let me encourage you that attention and diligence to this one area will not only profoundly impact your life and the lives of your children in powerful and positive ways, but it will also begin to impact the world. This is the ultimate area in which to educate yourself and your children. Lives full of meaningful relationship is what we were created for. It is how we connect and grow to be the best versions of ourselves. While new habits are hard to form and old habits die hard, I would encourage you to take away from this just how much taking this message to heart can mean for you and your children. So cheer loudly, moms and dads, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Be the parent that puts down their phone and engages in positive conversation. Ask questions and then find the answers together. Giving those that surround you positive tapes to play in their minds will empower them to succeed and to believe in themselves and others. I know you can do it, and I believe in YOU!
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