Sitting in church yesterday morning, I realized something. The pastor was speaking in a series on life change, and today’s topic was on change agents. He mentioned how others have invested in us to get us to the point where we are in our lives. Consequently, it us our responsibility to invest in others to make sure that their lives are lived to the fullest. As parents doing this for our children, it is our highest calling. If you want to raise good students, you have to raise them as quality young people.
How do you invest in your children? I’ll get to some of my thoughts in a moment, but in a nutshell you invest in them by giving of yourself and being the parents that God appointed you to be. Your child had no choice in the matter – they’re yours. You, as the adult, are wholly responsible for your child. It is an awesome responsibility.
Now, before you go breathing in a paper bag to keep from hyperventilating, realize that children are very resilient. There is room for error, but just be sure that you don’t keep making the same error. As long as you’re trying with your kids, you’ll do just fine.
So, here are a dozen ways on how you make investment deposits with your child.
- Spend time with them. There simply is no replacement for time.
- Listen to them. Children often feel like they’re second-class citizens when they’re in the company of adults. Listen to them, but don’t coddle to their every need.
- Help them with their schoolwork, get involved in their school, and let them see you learning something new. The goal is to get them enthusiastic about learning for a lifetime. Your child cannot afford to graduate high school and never pick up another book again.
- Let them see charity and concern for others in you. It is not the responsibility of the government to take care of us; when the community at large takes care of its less fortunate then we all thrive.
- Don’t be afraid to discipline. The simple definition for discipline is to teach. Your child needs to know right from wrong and the boundaries when dealing with others, so be sure to teach them. Reward good behavior and correct bad behavior.
- Tell them how unique and special they are. Don’t go around comparing them to others. If your child’s self-esteem is high, then there is absolutely no limit to what they can accomplish in this world.
- Be their parent, not their friend. Your child will have plenty of friends, but you are their parent, their anchor, their safe place. Being the cool parent can have disastrous consequences.
- Model healthy practices for them. Eat right and get proper amounts of sleep and exercise, and require the same of them as well.
- Give grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Jesus modeled these behaviors for us, so we should do as much for our children.
- Never give up on them. At times parenting is the hardest thing in the world. You will be frustrated and not know what to do next. Just never, ever let them see you give up. You can’t – they’re your children.
- Be consistent. To feel safe and connect with you, your child needs to know how you’ll react to different things. Doing what you say, and following through, teaches them so much.
- Virtues, values, morals, and ethics. We must teach these to our kids if we want them to have any.
I could go on all day, and you probably have lists of ways that you invest in your children. The thing to remember is that you alone are the single most important influence in their life. Anyone can be a father or a mother, but it takes effort to be a parent. Mold them into the person that you expect them to become. Not only is it your duty, but it will be the most rewarding thing that you ever do.