What does your child look like on the inside?
There is nothing quite like that feeling when you overhear an interaction between your child and someone else and your heart swells. You witness your child stepping up in a situation where it would have been easy to back down, and you know, that in the grand scheme of things, everything will be okay.
Of course, two minutes later, you might feel like tearing your hair out when the laundry didn’t get put away or the dishes got left two inches from the dishwasher, rather than in the dishwasher. That’s just the way it goes. One step forward, two steps back – the dance of life.
Those moments of realization that your child is building a strong inner core and knows how to live strong values, and is making those moves on his own; those are wonderful parenting moments.
Our job is to develop our child for the path NOT the path for our child. It is so easy, in this day and age, for that to get muddled up and end up completely backward. When we invest time on the path, we are delaying the inevitable lessons that are coming for our child.
Investing in the child means developing a strong inner core and focussing very little on the external stuff. It means connecting through conversation, asking tricky questions and letting our kids grow by encouraging them to move ever so slightly beyond what they know.
Our kids need to know that they are who they are, how they act and NOT what they own. When kids are little, this will be less clear as they may feel that it is the red running shoes that make them a fast runner. As kids grow, we get to teach them (by modeling for them,) that their efforts and actions show how strong they really are.
Your questions today:
What is one thing in your daily process that you can change so that you are preparing your child for the path rather than the path for your child?
Is there a value that you really want your child to learn and understand? How will you model that value for your child?
When will you talk about that value with your son or daughter?
Start to watch for that moment when your child really lives a value. When it happens, there is no need for a party, a reward or a celebration. Encourage your child by noticing:
“I just saw you showing respect by holding that door for the people behind you.”
“It was lovely to see you showing patience and caring while you waited for your cousin to zip up his coat after you got it started.”
Our job is to notice and encourage effort. Parenting is about working on the insides of our kids.