Friday, July 27, 2012

Practical Ways We Teach Our Kids Who They Are

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful . . ."
 - Psalm 139:14

In my last post about parenting, I mentioned that DH and I want our boys to know who they are. If you missed it, you can catch up here. I promised you some of the practical ways we are trying to teach our boys who they are in God and who they are in our family.

My three boys - ages 10, 9, and 5

  • DH and I are still learning, but we make sure to praise the boys - especially in front of others. Hearing us say good things about them really boosts their self-esteem and reinforces the idea that they matter. The world can be a cruel place. Our boys need to know that at home they are loved and appreciated for who they are. Our words are so powerful and have such an impact on their lives.

  • We also try to have the whole family present at each child's event - we all go to S2's baseball games, and then we all go to S1's band concerts. When S3 plays basketball this winter, we will all watch every game. We are trying to get across the idea that they all matter equally. I know this concept isn't possible for every family or for every event. But when S2 gets up to bat, if the whole family is in the stands watching, he knows that what is important to him is important to us because we love him. Whether he strikes out or hits a home run, he knows that we have his back.

  • We let the boys vote. Each week we hold a family meeting. We discuss the calendar for the coming week and the proposed menu plan (when I have one). The boys get to vote on the meals (they don't always get their way, but we do listen to what they have to say), and everyone gets input on the calendar. We're not a democracy in any way - we tell the boys that our home is a Benevolent Dictatorship :-) - but they do get to have a say. Having a vote reinforces the idea that they matter.

  • We serve together. Whatever service project/ministry we are involved in, we all do it together. We tell the kids that without their help, we wouldn't be successful in the endeavor. This idea gives them such a sense of importance - in a good way. They get to serve others as a member of a team. They see the positive results of service and feel the camaraderie of teamwork. They are learning that they are a critical member of a team.

  • We remind them of God's love for them and His plan for their lives. We tell them often that He made them just the way they are on purpose. They need to be the person He created them to be in order to do the tasks He has planned for them to do. 
We're not perfect parents by any stretch. And my boys are still young (5, 9, and 10), so I know we have a long way to go and much to learn. But so far, these things are working here.


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