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Practical Ideas to Help Your Child Become the Adult You Want Them to Become

Looking for something practical you can do invest in your child’s life?

Last post, Play the Long Game, I discussed the importance of having a long term perspective in parenting and introduced the concept of “Imagine the End” from our friends at Orange.  With that in mind, we want to give you some very practical ideas you can implement this month to help foster that growth in your children.

As a parent, it can be heart-breaking to think ahead to the day when your child packs up his room and leaves your house, to (hopefully) at least return for the holidays. At that moment, everything you have taught, modeled, and encouraged will be put to the test in the real world. That’s why it’s never too early to begin laying the foundation for the kind of adult you hope your child will grow into and the kind of relationship you hope to have after all the cheerio-smashing, music-blaring, curfew-breaking years have passed. Here are a few ideas to get you started…

Show Compassion.
“Compassion for others” is probably high on the list of qualities you want your child to have. And what better place to start than with an organization named exactly that? Compassion International is an incredible organization for you to use as a tool to teach your children about serving and loving others. Spend some time researching an organization as a family and decide on a way you will help this month!

Keep A Secret.
Imagine your kids becoming people who think of others more than themselves. Interested? At your next family dinner, ask this question: Who do you know that needs a little extra help or attention this month? Then think of one person (a family member, neighbor, friend, classmate, peer, etc.) per family member. But don’t let anyone outside the family know what’s up! Plan together and then check back in throughout the month to see how each family member is serving his or her secret person.

Bake A Tradition.
Traditions make a family a family (well, traditions and embarrassing photos – all denim photos anyone??). This month, pass on a family tradition by working together to make a dessert that grandma or a favorite family member makes. As you eat your dessert, talk about the importance of family and how sweet your favorite traditions are!

Mail A Letter.
Get your kids in the habit of “writing home” this month by giving each person in your family three notecards, envelops and stamps. Have each person pick three people who serve them well and write or draw a picture to say “thank you for how you serve me.” Talk about what you wrote as a family and send your notes in the “snail mail”!

Guess Who.
Bring serving home this month by encouraging your family members to serve one another. Put every family member’s name on a piece of paper. Then, draw names and keep it a secret. Challenge each family member to make their secret person a priority and make them feel special. At the end of the month try and guess who each person’s secret person was.

Not all of these will work for you  and maybe you have a better idea!  If so, go for it.  The goal is to begin to think about what you can do NOW in the time where you have your children under your roof to prepare them for the FUTURE under their own roof.

You only have so much time, but it’s amazing what you can do when you do intentional things over time!  What are you waiting for!?  Today is a great day to influence the next generation.

 

Speak Up! You Might Change Their Life.

Your words have power and more than likely you keep them to yourself way too often.

You’ve heard the story of the husband who gets frustrated with his wife asking why he never says I love you…to which he replies “Honey, I told you I did when we got married, if anything changes I will let you know.”

I watched once again this past weekend, the power and significance of words.  Without going into too much detail, I witnessed what happens when people are asked to speak their words of love and encouragement to someone they care for.  One girl shared that she felt she now had a new direction in life based on one sentence from a friend.  Another person shared they had years of guilt and shame lifted off their shoulders from a single sentence on a yellow post-it note.  I’m sure you know stories similar to these in your own life.

Words have power.

Words move people.

Words give direction.

Words shape people.

I see this with my kids all the time.  I say they are good at something and they believe it and it brings confidence and further exploration of their abilities.  They may not be all that good at doing a somersault, but they are young enough to believe it from their dad and it allows them to continue to test the waters of their gifts and abilities.  In fact, I would wager that most kids don’t know what they are good at until someone tells them.  Someone speaks life and direction into them.

It’s even more important that we aren’t stingy with our words, when you consider this — Did you know research from the Gottman Institute found that:

For every 1 comment of encouragement we receive, there are 7 comments of criticism.

So, on average you and I hear 7 comments of criticism with only 1 positive comment in the mix.   No wonder you might be feeling a bit down today.

Unspoken Love Isn’t What We Think It Is

You’ve heard the phrase, “actions speak louder than words”.  It’s true if your actions don’t match your words – actions win.   The only problem is we think our actions are speaking much louder than they actually are.  At some point along the way, we stopped speaking words and decided to let our actions do the talking and it’s not working.

While my wife appreciates everything I do for her, she wants to hear my voice.  She wants me to stop what I’m doing (actions that I think show my love, but are really just part of life together) and look her in the eyes and tell her what she means to me.  She wants my words.

I think this happens in families all the time.  I imagine many parents feel like they are showering their kids in love, while their kids are just waiting for a moment to hear how special they are.  This disconnect is common in most homes with the busyness of life, school, work, sports, activities, etc.   We DO a lot for each other, however, if we don’t stop, look each other in the eye, and speak words of life, I’m not sure that the message gets through – at least not with the weight we might hope in a world where 7:1 is the ratio.

 

Your words have power.  

Your words are needed.  

You words carry potential for change.

So what are you waiting for?  Speak up!  You might just change someone’s life!

 

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