Help Your Kids Thrive in the Postmodern Culture
- Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Make your home a haven. Create an environment in your home that helps you connect your kids to God and to you. Let your home serve as a sanctuary from life’s storms – a place your kids want to come home to and bring their friends. Make your home a place where your children can be completely themselves and express all of their emotions. Assure your kids that you love them regardless of what they do or say. Speak kind words often in your home. Welcome your children’s hard questions. Be there for your kids at home as often as possible.
Limit TV shows, movies, and Internet sites that you allow your kids to access in your home, taking care to protect them from unhealthy content such as the kind that glorifies violence or sexual perversion. Encourage your kids to play outside often. Cry alongside your kids when they’re sad, and rejoice with them when they’re celebrating something. Give them time to be carefree and make happy childhood memories. Read to them often. Laugh with them. Teach them how to discover God’s presence in the mundane, such as when they’re doing household chores.
Embrace the arts. Help your kids appreciate and participate in the arts, which is vital to engaging with postmodern people. Encourage them to discover and develop their talents, and use them in creative ways. Use art to respond to the Scripture you read together. Visit art museums. Go outside to notice God’s creativity displayed in nature. Read, imagine, and tell stories together. Make art journals. Attend cultural events, like art, music, or food exhibitions. Listen to different styles of music together. Have an open mind about trying new things so you can all learn something new as a family.
Coach your kids. If you have older kids, start moving from directing and showing them what to do to coaching them to make their own decisions and mistakes. Speak less and listen more to your children as they work through the decision making process. Let go of control and empower them to learn how to think for themselves and take responsibility for their own lives.
When your kids make mistakes, let them experience the consequences, reminding yourself that painful experiences are valuable opportunities for them to grow stronger character. When your kids succeed, rejoice with them. Have your kids set goals, and remind them of those goals without nagging. Ask thoughtful questions that help your kids determine what next steps would be wise. Cheer for your children to give them confidence, letting them know that you believe in them no matter what. Instead of trying to win battles for your kids, equip your kids to win battles for themselves.
Refresh yourself. You must be refreshed spiritually yourself in order to encourage your kids; you can’t pour life into them when you’re empty. Slow down your pace so you can hear God’s quiet voice regularly. Ask Jesus to give you His peace so you can model a peaceful, abundant life to your kids. Nail your stress to the cross regularly, trusting Jesus to help you without whatever concerns you. Stop condemning yourself for not being perfect, and start relying on God’s grace.
Be authentic. Honestly share your thoughts and feelings with your kids and others, but be careful not to indiscriminately spew out whatever pops into your mind. Ask God to give you the wisdom, humility, and courage you need to be open with your family in appropriate ways. Don’t worry about projecting a certain image as a parent. Instead, focus on genuinely connecting with your kids.
Constantly ask yourself: “Am I living for my own reputation or the reputation of Jesus Christ?” Ask God to help you make sure that what you do and say on the outside matches what’s truly going on inside your soul. Admit your weaknesses, failures, and mistakes, and let your kids see how much you need God. Forge accountability relationships with your children by sharing your problems and sinful patterns with them and letting them see you move closer to God through His grace.
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