What one thing should you encourage in your kids? You obsess over your child’s future. I know because I do the same. There are so many traits we want to develop in our kids. They are all important but going after all of them can seem overwhelming. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough time or money to do everything. As parents, we simply need to be selective.
I’m generally very patient with Jeremiah, 13, and Noah, 10. I remember what is was like at that age, trying to one-up my brothers with the sarcastic comments, saying “no” to everything my parents asked, no matter the question. I get why siblings like to wrestle and argue, how funny they think it is to give their parents a hard time. I understand that part of growing up is learning to assert yourself, to “be your own person.”
It’s a beautiful sunny Saturday morning and I arrive early to work for a recruitment event, excited to meet all of the prospective families and students who are thinking about their university experience the following year. The motivation I feel stems from that warm-fuzzy feeling I often get when students experience their “I belong here” moment walking around campus, meeting professors, seeing a residence room, and envisioning themselves walking across the stage at my institution.
Men cannot move couches by themselves. You need someone on the other end. A week ago, I had a family I had been helping out offer me a brand new couch. They had it for their mother who would no longer be able to use it. Our sleeper started to get holes and a new couch was on our “someday” wish list. In two days, I had to figure out a way to get rid of our sleeper and to get the couch to a few blocks over. I needed some help.
The Chunky And Friends books series is wonderful with dynamic characters that will make your kids laugh and learn at the same time. The first book in the series, CHUNKY AND THE O-BEAST, was an introduction to the Chunky and Friends world and the idea that every child is perfect the way they are and the only thing the adults in their lives want to see is that they grow up healthy and strong. Our latest book in the series, THE CANDY CONUNDRUM, focuses on dental health and the character Candy (short for Candace) who learns the harm that eating too much candy can have on oral health and the importance of brushing and flossing.
The opposite of accountability is entitlement. Your kids live in a culture that stresses entitlement. Last week two of our granddaughters played upstairs without direct supervision for well over an hour. The sounds of soft laughter and agreeable conversation heard from the den below astounded me. All I could think was, “Surely my grandkids are the best on Earth”. Then, without warning, the almost four-year-old brought me back to reality with a loud scream. Immediately my mind checked through the potential causes like pain, fear, and anger. The sound and intensity of what I heard clearly communicated the third option. So, after allowing a few minutes for her and her sister to resolve the issue, it was time to go up and give them some assistance. The problem: little sister decided she wanted big sister’s favorite blanket, but big sister was not in a sharing mood.
Being a dad is a delicate balance. In concert with my wife, we strive to find the perfect equilibrium of authority, encouragement, and “letting go” as we raise our three children in an ever-changing world. This is likely preaching to the choir, as I am sure most of you parents out there feel the same thing, to one degree or another. As my children grow, and learn more about themselves and the world around them, it is important to me that they are strong, self-confident, respectful, and kind. Still, there is one quality that is often overlooked, and even dismissed (or even marginalized as useless): be sensitive.
We are not the first parents to attempt to teach our children to be polite, I know that. This is a little about our trials. Recently, I heard our three year-old daughter saying the word “want” more often. As in: “I want water, or I want a snack.” I wasn’t concerned initially, then when it became daily I realized we had to start teaching her to say: “May I have some water?” Lately, that has been the subject of the day at our place. Trying to convert “I want” to “May I”. What a challenge it is! As we speak, she is hollering from the bathroom: “I’m done”…..
Stop that! Eat your food! Put that down! Do NOT touch that! Use your manners! As a parent, you constantly find yourself delivering commands to your kids throughout the day. And you know what? You pretty much have to. Kids need direction, and outside of their daycare or school, it’s you that needs to provide it.