Most men and women who have grown up to become successful had parents who allowed them to exercise their talents at a young age, encouraged them, and allowed them to GO FOR IT!
Kids May Be Resilient But What About YOU?
Having seven kids, our family has no shortage of stressful experiences. Each time one of our children climbs a tree, goes outside, or as a teen gets behind the wheel of a car I am provided an opportunity for worry. The Bible however is very clear about worry, and tells us simply not to. It says, “Be anxious for nothing.” How then can we as parents build up OUR OWN resilience and learn to trust that our little bambinos are in God’s hands and not in need of constant parental care?
“Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost.”
In the King James it says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 MSG
These scriptures are pivotal for believing parents because in the original text what the Word is suggesting is that every child has a natural tendency. Every child has a gift or talent of their own installed in them from God, and if you take the time to watch your child and see what naturally inspires them, you will learn a great deal about what motivates them to succeed. As a matter of fact most of the men and women who have grown up to become successful, had parents who allowed them to exercise their talents at a young age, encouraged them, and allowed them to GO FOR IT!
As young parents we believed giving our children allowances for chores was not what we wanted to do. We believed our children should do what comes as being a member of the family (CHORES) without financial recompense. So from little kids we decided to teach our children they were apart of a team… the family “team”. When the family as a team is in need, we believe that everyone should chip in without expectation of a financial return. Instead of payment for what is required, after a day of hard work we usually go get ice cream, take a drive, or go to the park.
John C. Maxwell Author, Pastor and Leadership Expert once said, “My dad never paid me for chores. He paid me for reading, every time I read a book – I got paid.” Due to our agreement with this philosophy, we as a family have instigated this same principle. We pay our children to read .01$ cent per page, and more for the classics (based on the level of vocabulary needed and in agreement with recommended reading). We have each child fill out a “reading time sheet”, and on a piece of binder paper they list the name of the book they have read, and the number of it’s pages. When their sheet is filled out, they turn it in. Last week our oldest son turned in his sheet and had earned 50+$! WOW!
In addition to encouraging our children read, we have also paid very close attention to what comes naturally to them and what they LOVE to do. When our oldest son LOVED Lego’s and building, we would monthly budget for new Lego sets just for him. When our second son showed a desire to dive (into swimming pools) we budgeted to get him lessons. When our daughter showed a desire to dance, we budgeted for her to take ballet. Notice that I mention we BUDGETED in order to put priority into our children getting the oppurtunity to do these activities. We took money from some other area: cable TV, buying new clothes, eating out, etc. so that we could easily afford to encourage them in what came naturally. I believe that when we choose to watch our children succeed in what comes naturally to them it draws them closer to God, builds thier self worth and gives us as parents the confidence that our children have a positive future to look forward to. There then becomes “NO FEAR”, because there is no uncertainty. Children can become free to be – exactly what God wants them to be!
Our fourth child is highly energetic and naturally challenging. He won’t just say “OK MOM”, he has to say “WHY?” Once I heard him say at five years old, “Well, I’m going to do it this way instead!” For me this is a harder child to handle than the rest because the rest are very obliging. If Indiana Jones was a real person, our little Andrew would be just like him! The dumbest thing that I have ever done is to treat Andrew like the rest of our children, the dumbest thing I could ever do is try to take away the independent spirit that God put in him!
Andrew is unlike the others, and God made him that way. God made him to climb mountains, forge through forests, swim in rivers. God made his boy to be brave and overcome obstacles. The dumbest thing as a parent I could ever do would be to attempt to take away his desire for adventure, his hunger for action and his natural tendency to lead others by “mother henning” him. While I discipline him, I discipline him differently than the rest. Rather than tossing him into “time outs”, or spanking him, most often his discipline comes from sitting down and talking to him helping him understand why what he is doing isn’t safe, isn’t healthy, isn’t productive and then letting him know how much we love him. Amellia Earhart once said – “Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”
You Will Get Stronger in Your Faith
You as a parent will grow stronger in your faith and security once you begin to watch and encourage your children in what motivates them. I have no shadow of a doubt that our little Andrew is going to do something great with his life, and that he is going to overcome any obstacle set in front of him because we repeatedly tell him how great he is, and we allow him to climb trees, knock on the neighbors door, and be bold in his actions. We are just as confident in our older children because we have watched them as individuals and treat each one separately guiding them in their individual ways they should go.
What about you? What are you doing to get rid of fear and encourage your “babies” in what they love to do??