There is no greater responsibility in this life than shaping a person. If you are a parent you have this responsibility
Sherri and I have been praying, thinking, and talking about the characteristics we want our children to possess. We have our list.
While we understand that each child is different and will live out these characteristics with their own style, we still want to train them to live out these character traits:
- Good stewards
Four ways we are teaching/instilling these characteristics:
- Model the way. If our children see Sherri and me living these characteristics, it will be much easier for them to comprehend and embrace them as a way of life. DISCLAIMER: we have not mastered these traits! They are evolving in us just as they are in our children! The point is that we want to model them for “The Ladies” so that they will have a sense of what it looks like to be helpful, optimistic, etc.
- Encourage their hearts. Every time we see our kids living out one of these characteristics we MUST recognize and affirm them! This simply calls for an awareness on our part as parents. Here’s the kicker… when we get too busy, we run right past our kids living out these characteristics and miss the opportunity to reinforce them!
- Enable them. We have to give them every opportunity to live out these characteristics. If we want them to be responsible we have to model responsibility, give them responsibility, and encourage and affirm them when they are responsible! Right now Reagan is experimenting with the jungle gym at the park. It provides us with a great opportunity to “enable” courage as she swings and climbs. Someday this won’t work, but for now it provides a way to enable her to be courageous.
- Share the vision. We have to keep these characteristics in front of our children! A few of the ways that we are doing this include: telling stories that feature these characteristics, modeling the way, using these words (e.g. persevere, respectful, etc.), celebrating when they live out these characteristics, etc. We must keep reminding them of what we want and helping them envision what it looks like to live out these characteristics.
How’s it going?
Well, for starters we realize that the training process never stops; it’s never static! It’s always evolving! In other words, we are always creating new ways to reinforce and teach the same concepts!
Another big issue, particularly for me, is the issue of modeling the way… showing “The Ladies” through my life, what it looks like to be kind, helpful, etc. It keeps me on my toes when I know I’ve got four little girls watching.
I’m working on my storytelling skills. To be frank, my storytelling abilities suck. I’m working on finding and creatively telling good stories that highlight these various characteristics.
I pray to God that someday our girls will grow up and live out these ten characteristics, and I know that the likelihood of this happening is much greater when we have a plan and work the plan.