These are my beliefs, developed through personal experiences and studies of my own. They do not represent anyone other than myself. Many of these lessons work together to form an overall idea (such as #1 and #2). The scriptures used can be reflected on both the parents and the children as we are all learning to walk with Christ.
1. Our children are not empty sponges, looking to soak up whatever we throw at them. They are intelligent both emotionally and intellectually. They show us this in their ability to read our emotions, question us when something doesn’t feel right, and every time they show growth personally* in areas we have yet to focus on as their parents and life-coaches.
*Proverbs 20:11 “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure or whether it be right.” -KJV
2. A healthy environment is crucial to development. This one seems obvious, but for years I believed that because I had lived in toxic homes and had not been swayed by these particular tendencies, I was immune to them, as if they had no affect on me. This is not only inaccurate, its a dangerous mentality. A child may not take up the same addictions, habits or ideologies that they have been exposed to, but as they are building their personality’s foundation, *they will be affected by these subjects in a lasting manner. It is critical that we do our best as parents to equip our child with a strong sense of discernment for the inevitable ugliness this world will throw at them.
*Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” -KJV
3. Social anxiety is not shyness. A shy child will warm up to their surroundings, while a child filled with anxiety caused by social activities will crumble into a fragile state, sometimes even leading to panic attacks. It is important to know the difference, so that you can learn how to guide your child in proper *healing depending on which one they suffer from.
*Hebrews 10:24-25 ” And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” -NKJV
(I recommend this article by Andriana of A Love Worth Living For)
4. Children are born with likes and dislikes. Eventually they learn to either feed these personal diversities or curb them so that they can fit in with their environment. As parents, understanding this is a big part of learning how to talk, care and bond with your child. You need to take the time to *earn their trust and respect by showing that you can be firm in what is right and wrong, while allowing them to develop their interests.
*1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” -ESV
5. Spiritual growth must be met with dedication. Regardless of your personal beliefs one thing stands true; you have to *study to understand with clear intent what your beliefs are so that it may **manifest itself in your daily life. There is no spiritual growthfor someone who stands still in their beliefs, just as a man won’t find growth in a company or relationship he refuses to commit to.
*Mathew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” -ESV
2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” -ESV
**Psalms 1:1-3 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” -KJV
6. Different people love differently. Just as your child is developing their likes and dislikes as part of their personal foundation, and inevitably the beginning to who they will become as individuals, they are learning to love, express love and build love in their own way. *They look to us for acknowledgment of these traits, for example: “Mommy, can I help you?” says the child who shows love by seeking opportunities to assist us. We have to keep our eyes open to these quirks and/or traits so that we may notice them and react appropriately as we help our children develop their own love language. In learning how to speak lovingly to our children according to their personalities, we can engage in more meaningful conversation with them, though we must remember that our main priority is to be their guide in life and sometimes that means stepping away from the idea that we are their ‘friend.’
*Psalms 127:3-5 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” –ESV Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” -NIV
Proverbs 1:8-9 “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” -KJV
7. Life is about balance, but we as people must be consumed with positivity. This is not to say that we should walk naively through the world, absolutely not. However, we cannot let ourselves and our children fall into the negative aspects of life. We have to lean on the positives, building them, focusing on these much more often than we do any negative. A ‘realest‘ would tell you that they sway neither which way, but the truth is there is no fence to sit on. Your mind will notice either the positives, or the negatives first, from there you begin to form a decision. A neutral state does not exist on its own, because of this, a mind that *focuses on the positives will ultimately form a stronger relationship with happiness. A realest is merely an optimist without hope, or a pessimist without belief. (Please note the sarcastic relief, as neither is possible.) 😉
*Isaiah 12:3 “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” -ESV
8. House rules are not only for children. By this I simply mean that we, the parents, have rules set in place not just for the children’s wellbeing, but for our own sanity as well. Even things like, ‘don’t yell in the house,’ ‘organize your clothes, toys, books, etc.,’ and ‘clean up after yourself.’ Sure there are benefits to the child in each of these, but the pros weigh heavily in favor of the parents needs as well. If only so that we can focus our attention on more pressing matters, to say the least, because *we can not be with our children all the time but must be able to trust that they have been given proper direction.
*Deuteronomy 6:7 “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” –ESV
9. Less really is more. More clothes, more toys, more time, more money… whatever it is, chances are *the less you have of it, the better it is taken care of, appreciated and divided between your priorities. The same can be said about our interruptive tendencies as parents. Sometimes our children need us to step back and let them learn on their own.
*Psalm 37:16 “A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.” -NKJV
10. It is never too late to correct an error. Children and adults alike can both appreciate an honest apology. Follow that with sincere determination to correct your actions and you’ll set an example for others that is as genuine in character, as it is meaningful. We are all human and humans make mistakes, it is however *much more damaging to ignore these mistakes, repeat them and show no remorse for such actions.
*Mathew 12:25 “Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.” -ESV
I would love to hear what other parents have learned about life and people. If you have something you would like to add please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments bellow. ❤
Thank you for reading and God Bless!