There's a lot of talk these days about raising children and the best way to do it. If you Google 'Raising Children' you'll find a million different methods and opinions on how you can take raise the perfect child. Of course we all know that child doesn't exist! (Smile) I've got a different theory though.
How about instead of desperately trying to raise the perfect child, we concentrated on raising ourselves to be a better person. It's a known fact that children respond and learn from what they see, so maybe it's important for us to make sure what they're seeing is good! This puts the responsibility on us as parents to be on journey of developing ourselves. I fully believe that we should be constantly learning and growing as parents. I've been a parent for almost 15 years now (what??? ) and sometimes I still feel like I don't have a clue! But I also fully believe that if I'm changing, growing and developing my character, my children will develop and grow in a positive way too.
Sooo here are a few characteristics of the person I'm trying to raise myself to be:
Someone who knows who they are in Christ.
I'm pretty sure every parent wants their child to grow up with a healthy self esteem and I know there's many facets and things that contribute to this. However I do believe that if we, as parents constantly devalue ourselves and put ourselves down, our children will start to see that as normal and acceptable. Now I'm not talking about the odd bad hair day or having a little crisis of confidence over something. We're only human and those things can be part of life; but we need to avoid verbalising negative things about ourselves as much as possible. The last thing I want is to hear my children putting themselves down and talking bad about themselves so I must make sure that I don’t do that myself too. Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Let’s not forget that. In fact let’s remind ourselves of that on a daily basis so that our kids believe it too.
Someone who shows respect for those around them
Respect is learned. How? By showing it. We teach our children respect by showing respect. If you’re married you have a responsibility to show respect to your husband, otherwise how are they ever going to respect him? Don’t put your husband down in front of your children, or at all for that matter. Don’t undermine him. Honour and respect him and you’ll build this culture in your home. Be a united front. Teach your children respect for those in authority by being respectful yourself.
Don't talk negatively about your boss at home or it’s pretty certain they’ll disrespect authority figures in their lives.
Someone who watches what they say
Proverbs 12:18 says “Reckless words pierce like a sword but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Are your words reckless? Do you think before you speak? I think we all have times where we say reckless words but it’s important that this doesn’t become a habit or culture in our homes. We must determine to speak wise words of encouragement and life. Words are powerful and have the power to build up or tear down. We must determine not to label our children with our words. “She’s the moody one.” “He’s always selfish.” The more we speak these sorts of words over our children they’ll take root in their hearts and will grow and develop. Ultimately that's what they’ll become.
So choose your words wisely.
Someone who refuses to stay small
One of my favourite verses in the Bible is 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 “Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!”
God wants for us to live a wide, expansive, spacious life. His desire is never for us to stay small and I made a commitment a few years ago that no matter what it took, I would always live a big life. I fervently want this for each of my children. I want them to see more than anything that God has a huge life for them to live and that living his way will always lead them into it. Smallness limits us, keeps us contained and keeps us comfortable. But when we refuse to stay small it may be uncomfortable sometimes but it allows us to see what we are capable of; to see new and wider horizons and to be the person God has called us to be.
So there are a few of my thoughts. Remember, your child’s biggest influencer is you so make sure you raise you to be the type of person you want them to be!