Monday, June 19, 2006

Raising G-Rated Kids in an R-Rated World (Part 6)

We are continuing our look at 10 principles for effective parenting. Below are the last two to discover!

Encourage your children often…“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing”(I Thessalonians 5:11).

This involves giving meaningful touch (Mk 10:13-16; Mk 1:40-42). I love the story when Jesus is talking to the man who had leprosy. This man had not felt a loving human touch in years. Yet, the Bible says that Jesus, moved with compassion, reached out and touched him. The power of proper touching is awesome. This obviously also involves sharing spoken words of encouragement as well (Proverbs 18:21; 3:27-28).

Celebrate your children’s achievements…“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).

Sydney Harris has said, “The best things you can give children, next to good habits, are good memories.” The story is told of a family in the East that was planning a vacation out on the West Coast. Unfortunately, an emergency came up at the father’s work and he had to send the family on the trip without him. The dad got out the maps and planned their exact route and where they would stop each night and the family left, saddened that dad could not come along. The dad was able to get done with his crisis at work early, and since he knew exactly where his family would be traveling that day, he flew out to the nearest city and took a taxi out ahead of them on the route that they would be driving on. The dad waited there until he saw the family coming, then he stuck out his thumb, acting as a hitchhiker. The mom and kids did a double-take as they drove by the weary hitchhiker and recognized him as part of their family. What a reunion they had. Later, when a newspaper reporter asked the dad why he did such a stunt, he simply responded, “After I die, I want my kids to be able to say, ‘Dad sure was fun, wasn’t he?’”

Be flexible with your children…“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).

The truth is that sometimes we forget that our kids are just that…kids. Sometimes we force them to grow up so fast that they never have time to just be kids.

Parenting is tough…especially in the day and age in which we live. But remember, even though you can’t do much about your ancestors, you can still influence your descendants enormously. I read recently of a lady who was viewing the autumn colors with her elderly mother. “Isn’t it wonderful of God to take something just before it dies and make it so beautiful?” the daughter commented as she gazed at some falling leaves. “Wouldn’t it be nice if he did that with people?” the mother mused. The daughter looked at the stooped, white-haired figure beside her. “Sometimes he does,” she answered.

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