Spring is a wonderful time of year. The world is fresh and full of opportunities! Let’s all spend some time cultivating the hope of Spring by remembering all the things we love and enjoy about our children, and thinking about all the ways we can actively and intentionally bless them with our support.
Sit down for a minute. Sip a cup of tea. Enjoy a moment of rest and relaxation. Be mindful. Think about the people you love. Close your eyes and visualize their faces. Smile! Banish those negative thoughts! What do your children need to grow up strong and confident – loving support or perfect parents? Do successful parents have perfect children? What will your children remember when they’re grown – the love and support of their family or their family’s perfection?
Children are born with the brain they were given, and all the strengths and challenges that come with that brain. There isn’t a child in this world who doesn’t have strengths and challenges. The job of childhood – and of parenthood – is to learn how to live happily and successfully in that brain. That’s what self-esteem is all about – not an inflated sense of self, but an honest self of self. Not a life free of challenges, but the ability to deal effectively with challenges.
Take some time to write down every word you can think of that describes your child. Write down all the words that other people have used to describe your child. No editing – just write them down in a list. Now we’re going to flip the negative words – because for every word with a negative implication, there are positive words that mean the same thing. We have a choice in how we frame things – so let’s be positive! Here are some examples:
Hyperactive = energetic
Stubborn = determined
Know-it-all = well-informed
Disrespectful = assertive
Scattered = creative
Questions everything = curious
Over-talkative = strong verbal skills
Won’t follow directions = thinks outside the box
Unfocused = imaginative
Smart aleck = clever
Cries easily = sensitive
Now write down all the things that make you proud of your child. Does he have a strong sense of justice? Does she have a cheerful spirit? Is he always willing to help others? Does she always follow through on her promises?
Now we’ll move on to positive goals and aspirations. What does your child want to be when she grows up? What are his strongest interests? What activities has she most enjoyed and been best at? Write these down, because these are the areas in which your child needs opportunities to learn and explore. It’s your job as a parent to provide these opportunities as best you can. Does your child love to sing? Find out about the children’s choir at church. Does your daughter want to be an astronaut? Plan a family vacation to the Kennedy Space Center. Does your son love the outdoors? Sign him up for Boy Scouts. Does your child love to cook? Plan a “cooking lesson” one night a week. Successful parenting is all about providing our children with the opportunities to develop their gifts and interests – whatever those gifts and interests might be.
Now you have three lists: List 1 includes all the words people use to describe your child – expressed positively. List 2 includes the things that make you proud of your child. List 3 includes the areas of interest in which your child needs opportunities to learn and explore.
Spend some time looking at your three lists. Make a plan for how you will provide your child with at least one opportunity or experience, based on his gifts, interests, and positive traits.
We don’t mold children, we unfold them.