Tomorrow night we are starting a new series called “Forward Motion” at TCYM. Here are some thoughts to consider as your students work their way though this series with us.
1. Be a Student of What They are Learning
We’ve all made resolutions and set goals, but too often we fall short of what we expected to accomplish. Unfortunately it’s often the same when we try to become the Christian we really believe God has called us to be. We fall short of the goal and become increasingly discouraged. In this series, your student will learn that following Christ is more about the small steps we take every day, not about the huge leaps of faith that we think we need to make. They will set a goal, determine the first step and then make it. The series will end with a celebration!
2. Be a Student of Your Student
Many of you crave forward motion in your family. You know what you want your children to be. You want them to be kind, respectful, responsible, intelligent, creative individuals. You want them to be able to succeed when they grow up and leave your home. But sometimes you look at them and you think that it may never happen. Sometimes, between the myriad of parenting books and child-rearing philosophies, you can get lost in the “how to” of raising wonderful kids who become successful adults.
In Reggie Joiner’s Orange Parents post entitled “How to Raise a Jerk,” Joiner encourages parents in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way about raising kids who become the adults parents want to see them grow into. Here is an excerpt from this post. To read the post in its entirety, go to http://www.orangeparents.org/how-raise-a-jerk/
Some leaders say too many who work hard at building children’s self-esteem are raising kids who will exhibit a lifestyle of entitlement and egotism. Other specialists say those who talk about children being innately bad are raising a generation that feels inferior and insignificant. Every expert has an opinion and it’s hard to know where the line actually is. Many promote their agenda by pushing the opposing opinion to the extreme.
One of the keys to parenting with balance is helping your children develop an attitude of humility. Every child has the potential to grow up and understand why it’s important to “put others first.” There is just a fine line between raising kids who have a healthy self-esteem and kids who are too egotistical. A life of arrogance that goes unchecked can result in a sad and lonely existence for someone, and frankly there are enough self-centered people around. How does someone develop an overinflated sense of self-worth and entitlement?
Here are a few ideas to help you effectively raise a jerk:
- Protect them from the consequences of their own mistakes.
- Make sure you do whatever they can do for themselves.
- Keep them away from anyone who thinks differently than they do.
- Try to give them everything they want.
- Tell them over and over again you just want them to be happy.
- Convince them that they are more special than other kids.
- Always take their side when they get in trouble with their teacher at school.
- Always take their side whenever they are in a conflict with a friend.
- Keep insisting that they are the best player on the team.
- Don’t give them consistent opportunities to help or serve other people.
- Never require them to do chores.
- Reinforce their prejudices about people from different cultures or backgrounds.
- Make your relationship with them more important than your relationship with your spouse.
- Rarely express genuine gratitude to those who help you.
- Teach them to talk more than they listen.
- Never let them hear you say, “I was wrong. I am sorry.”
Maybe you can add a few ideas of your own… on how to raise a jerk.
Whatever parenting philosophy we ascribe to, we all want to see our kids succeed. Whether it’s at school, sports, music or in the character traits they possess, we all want our kids to thrive. And the truth is, a huge part of their success is us. We set the tone for so much of their self-worth, self-understanding and self-image. So, let’s focus on being a part of the steps we want to see them take. Let’s get in the game with them and encourage their steps towards realizing the potential that God has placed inside of them.
3. Action Point
Obviously, no parent takes the advice on how to raise a jerk seriously. But what most of us do want to take seriously is the opportunity we have as parents to help our students become the best person—and eventually, the healthiest adult—they can be. We want to help them set goals and achieve them. And we want to praise them for their successes.
This month, think about helping your student make one step. Think of one new thing that you would love for your son or daughter to do. Maybe it’s to improve his or her science grade, learn how to do laundry, cook a meal or change the oil in the car. Once you have decided on one goal for your student, communicate your desire to teach this skill and let your student know why it is important to learn it. Then spend time during the month helping teach your student how to accomplish the goal.
If you want your student to improve his or her science grade, sit with him or her and study flash cards. If you want them to know how to do laundry, do a load or two together until he or she gets the hang of it. By communicating to your child why you want him or her to know or do a certain thing, you communicate respect. By spending time helping them learn, you are letting him or her know of their importance to you. You will also alleviate your child’s fear of disappointing you if they get it wrong.
The most important thing that fuels forward motion is celebration. Make sure that you celebrate your child’s step! Tell him or her that you are proud of them for working so hard or for learning something new. When your child knows that they can make you proud, they will be much more motivated to continue working on their new goal.