Born in the same house, attending the same schools, raised by the same parents; yet there is a completely different personality with each child! And two or three (or how every many children you have) totally different personalities and outlooks on life.
One likes to play quietly; one likes to talk.
One likes music; the other wants to play sports.
One loves milk in their cereal; the other doesn’t.
As parents, we see those differences and know instinctively that each life is a unique miracle.
And through the day-to-day schedules and life’s grind, we must remember that we are cheering on our kids to be all that God calls them to be.
They may have our last name, but they are their own unique person, preparing for adulthood with all of the graces and gifts that they have been given to grow into.
There’s something powerful about parenthood. A grown adult can, in some ways, re-experience childhood. This time though, it’s through another human and the parent has the distance, maturity, and perspective to weigh in on the best choices to make.
But at times, parents push hard because of their own pride and recognized shortcomings. They start getting it backward – setting an expectation of success for their kids based on the parent’s issues or successes. I once heard it best summed up this way: “are you cheering for your child’s first name or last?”
You have a unique opportunity to step back and focus on the fact that your children something to offer the world.
Well-differentiated parents offer a great gift to the child – understanding their emotional connection to their child is for the purpose of encouraging them to work hard and grow in their God-given gifts and graces.
Here are some practical applications and practices:
Pray Over Them
Pray for your kids each day, as well as before bed.
I Enjoy Watching You __________
Instead of saying “great job hitting the ball”, add in the phrase: “I enjoy watching you play ball.” Kids, like adults, need to know that someone takes delight in them for who they are, not what they do.
Be sure to thank your kids when they are kind, polite, and helpful. Let your kids hear you talk to others about being thankful for them.
Give kids specific praise to help usher them in the right direction. When you notice something they do well, be specific in your compliment toward it.
Figure out some ways to celebrate with your kids. Examples of this could be an end of school dinner, championship game party, or a family gathering at the end of a school year. Celebrate birthdays and other milestones. Celebrate simple things with them.
No matter what, I’ll always love you
Instill this in your kids from the get-go.
Make Progress In Your Own Life
There is no doubt parenting is a sacrifice. But be intentional in making some progress toward your goals, your health and fitness, in your relationships, and in spiritual maturity. We’ll never be perfect – so don’t stress out too much. The sooner you realize that, and parent from a place of humility and grace, the better the chance you have of raising successful kids.
Be your kids’ biggest cheerleader! They are a gift from God! Help them grow into who God is calling them to be.
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