When my oldest was born, we had a large entertainment center in our living room. Beneath the television were two shelves, with the upper one hosting picture frames and a few knick knacks, and the lowest offering assorted baskets for toys. As my baby grew, every night I would put his toys away in the baskets and he began to help. By the time he was one, the nightly routine was for him to return what he had played with to their rightful place.
And, it was clearly understood that the upper shelf was for mom – off limits.
Now, as with any parenting scenario, there were some voices that communicated some doubt with regards to my decision making and some grumbling that it didn’t seem fair to put something within reach that he was not allowed to touch. It was “cruel.” And yet, still others praised his behavior when we were in public spaces or homes which were not child-proof.
Won’t there always be spaces he is not allowed??
Our homes are training grounds to prepare our children for real life. In order for our precious babies to eventually enter successfully into the world prepared to assimilate and effectively contribute to society, it’s important that they are taught to navigate some situations instinctively.
“We look with our eyes, not our hands.” “Sharing is important.” “We submit/prefer one another as a way of honoring one another.” “Treat other people as you would like to be treated.” “Are the words/tone you are choosing helping or hurting the situation?”
To expect our children to one day be empathetic, considerate, responsible humans simply by osmosis is absurd, and yet many choose to navigate parenting from this vantage point because we fear rejection and don’t want to disappoint our kids or make things hard for them. The end result, however, is that as adults, our children often suffer from a complete inability to confidently (and triumphantly) face challenges and obstacles and end up experiencing far more pain, discomfort and disillusionment than they ever would have had they been trained effectively.
In the bible there are over 230 passages on wisdom – the Lord will give wisdom and direction freely to those who actively pursue (James 1:5). Whatever you perceive you lack, trust that God has already put inside you what you need to develop into, and walk as, the person He designed you to. Whether it be church, wise counsel, godly parenting books or coaching, there are myriad resources to encourage you and to help guide you in this journey.
Matthew 23:23“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
Be encouraged today that the effort you put into your children now will reap a bountiful harvest later – you are the parent God designed to raise up your littles to be the people He designed them to be!