I have been challenged to start a new "Blogging Through The Alphabet" series, and decided that I always do better with a theme than just picking random topics.
After much thought, I have decided to do a series on "Parenting With Godly Purpose" since that is the season of life I am in right now, and pretty much all my waking hours are filled with parenting moments - both good and bad. I will be sharing my thoughts on things the Lord has showed me, or verses or material I read, as well as mistakes I make, to try to encourage some of my readers along the road of their own parenting journey.
My first post is a topic that is very close to my heart - an area that I feel is vital for parents to get right, and one that I am continually striving for in thoughts and actions. That topic is AFFIRMATION.
What do I mean by affirmation? I mean the consistent outpouring and reassurance of your love to your children. The sense of security that comes when they know they are valued by the people who mean the most to them in all the world. When babies join our family, it is easy to constantly dote on them, loving and cuddling and spending all kinds of time. After years of being on the clock though, often we as parents grow stale in showing all this attention and affection, and start to unknowingly pull away as we allow our children the room to grow.
While it is important to give them the space to grow, learn, and experience life, it is also equally important to be the anchor that they can fall back on. The toughest, strongest young person still counts on the opinion and affirmation of their parent to anchor themselves.
As children morph into mini adults and start testing out their ideas, these creatures called teenagers can be a test to our power of affirmation. Sometimes it is easier to pull away from a challenging young person than to hang in there, stay strong, and weather the storm. It can be difficult to be the adult in the relationship and not back down on our convictions when they are challenged, but to patiently explain the reasons why we do what we do.
Through all of these challenges, look for ways to affirm your love and loyalty to your child by learning what makes them tick and what makes them feel loved, then faithfully carrying it out. Perhaps you have a child that feels loved when they are hugged. It is important to hug them and tell them "I love you" frequently, even multiple times a day! All children need to hear words of affirmation regularly. Choose something everyday that is positive and good, and point it out to them, complimenting their effort, character, or achievement. I like to always compliment demonstrations of good character to affirm that type of behavior. Perhaps caring for their physical needs is what speaks to their heart the most, if so, be sure to make them meals, especially their favorites. Save leftovers for them, and think ahead to packing lunches or snacks when they might need it.
One of the saddest stories I have heard from an almost grown teenager was that their parent wasn't saving a meal for them anymore since they started working late. Parents, those teens may act like they can take care of themselves without your help, but they desperately need you, and deep down inside is a young person who is longing for the days when they were a child and were cared for completely. They don't necessarily like growing up, even if they fail to let you in on that secret!
One effective way to affirm our love to our children is by entering their world. It speaks volumes when we give up some of our busy schedule to get involved in something that is important to our children, even if it may not be our first choice of activities for our own entertainment. Perhaps your child likes to play Legos, or a sport, or maybe they have an interesting hobby or pet. Find out what you can do to share that interest with them, and build a relationship through it.
There are so many ways we can affirm our love to our children, and let them know that we value and appreciate them. While they do need our attention and affection, they also need constant reminders that we are thinking of them, and they have great worth to us, and to God. As parents, we are in a unique place to provide this for them, because we know them better than anyone.
So I challenge you parents to find creative ways to show love and attention to your children, no matter what their age is. Hide a note, send a text, buy a snack, cook a meal, or go out and spend some time together. It will build your relationship and give your young person an anchor of security in this crazy world.
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