I used to teach a parenting class to young mothers, based on lessons I learned along the way, and I ran across an old hand-out the other day which I created for a church based “Mom’s Group.” It brought back many memories for me. I will share it with you here.
Things I try to remember:
- These children are mine on loan – their future is planned by a higher power and I am merely here to train toddlers, coach teens, and mentor young men and women– and of course, to love them all the while.
- The more emotion they are showing, the less I should talk. I must practice active listening, without judgment or planning what I am going to say next, if I want to truly know and understand my child.
- If I have not expressed expectations, I cannot possibly expect them to be met.
- If I have not expressed and displayed my love for God and what He does in my life…it will not be a part of theirs.
- Only God loves them (and me!) unconditionally. If they do not have God in their life, they have no one who loves them totally, forgives them no matter what, and has given up His most precious gift for them. God is the best role model I can think of, and therefore one I need to point to whenever possible.
For Teens and Young Adults in Particular: Things to consider saying when the moment arises.
- “It is not that I don’t trust you. I do. I trust you to be a (fill in the blank) year old with that level of experience and judgment. That is why the answer is no.”
- “Have you prayed about this? What is your heart telling you?”
- “Hate is a strong word. Think about whether it is hate, or dislike, or maybe just behavior you don’t understand or agree with.”
- “You can’t change other people or their behavior, except by being a person they respect and admire and want to be like. You can’t control what others do, but you CAN control what you do and how you react. That is truly proactive living.”
- “Everything you do, every day of your life, is a choice. You choose to be happy. You choose to be sad. You choose to magnify the blessings in your life or the sorrows. No one can deny these choices to you and no one can take them away. Think about it, and choose.”