A New Attitude

The lips of the righteous nourish many.
Proverbs 10:21

It’s difficult to maintain an encouraging spirit when you’re overwhelmed by problems with your child. We know of a family that faced this predicament. Jenny was a three-year-old who was still acting like a child in the “terrible twos”; nearly every interaction between parent and child was marked by conflict. Yet the father decided that this was as good a time as any for a first “date” with his daughter: breakfast at a local restaurant. As the hot pancakes melted his butter, he felt his own disappointment with his daughter melting away. He began to tell Jenny how much she was loved and appreciated, that he and her mother had prayed for Jenny for years, that they were so proud of her.

The father stopped to eat, but never got the fork to his mouth. In a soft, pleading voice, Jenny said, “Longer, Daddy. Longer.” For a second time he told Jenny why she was special…and a third time…and a fourth. Whenever he stopped, he heard the words, “Longer, Daddy. Longer.”

To follow Christ is “to be made new in the attitude of your minds” (Ephesians 4:23) so that every action and word is “helpful for building others up” (v. 29). It is true with children of all ages, too. Sometimes a problem with misbehavior or rebellion can be lessened by simply taking the time to have fun together and to speak of love in very warm terms. Kids need to hear that they are respected and appreciated. And guess what—so do moms and dads.

Before you say good night…

  • Are you displaying a loving, appreciative attitude toward your kids?
  • What can you do this week to express this attitude to your children?

Lord, You always see the hunger for affirmation and attention and love in the hearts of our kids. Awaken us, we pray, so that we see it, too. Help us to pour out encouragement to our children as You continue to pour it into us. Amen.

Illustration adapted from Leaving the Light Onby Gary Smalley and John Trent (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1994).

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.