Kids should have good role models and parents who can walk the talk while being transparent in handling failure and success. This morning I asked B “who do you want to be when you grow up?” and to my surprise, instead of “teacher, firefighter” (his usuals), he said “I want to be like mama” (yikes!) While that stroked my ego as I’ve been trying to be more intentional about building faith and character with B, I’m painfully aware that as a flawed individual, I always fall short! You don’t want to be like mama at all times B, really….
Kari Kampakis’ article “10 Common Mistakes Parents Today Make” resonated with me because – I confess – I’ve made most of them. Here’s one that I agree with wholeheartedly:
Mistake #1: Underestimating CHARACTER. If there’s one thing I hope to get right in my children, it’s their CORE. Character, moral fiber, an inner compass… these things lay the foundation for a happy, healthy future. They matter more than any report card or trophy ever will…. We know that what will matter at 25, 30 and 40 is [not what they achieved but] how they treat others and what they think of themselves.
If we want them to build character, confidence, strength and resilience, we need to let them face adversity and experience the pride … when they come out stronger on the other side. It’s hard to see our children fall, but sometimes we have to. Sometimes we have to ask ourselves whether intervening is in their best interest. There are a million ways to love a child, but in our quest to make them happy, let us stay mindful that sometimes it takes short-term pain to earn long-term gain.
It dawned on me at a recent church camp that my parenting journey is not meant to be walked alone, isolated from community. Furthermore, the best lessons are “caught not taught.” We all can and should help to “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6)
In this case, our “village” is our local church which partners with parents to set a solid faith foundation for their marriages, families and the next generation. I’m especially blessed by those serving in kids’ ministry who are super engaging and energetic, always ready to patiently manage restless kids and answer those tricky questions. As I occasionally help with our weekly cell group, I realise how tough it is to catch the interest and hold the attention of kids, especially between preschool and primary school ages!
With me having less time with B and hubby still away a lot for work, I’m keen to better integrate B with our “spiritual family” here. Besides family and casual friend interactions, we are trying to be more consistent with Sunday School. B joined our church’s Sunbeam program at 18 months and then graduated to unaccompanied classes at 30 months. We sat in with him for the first two N1 sessions. The first time we dropped him off, he cried but was okay after a few minutes. The second time this past weekend was better, no tears, although he still wanted a big hug and clung to mama as I left. B said afterwards that he likes Sunday School, sang many songs, and even quoted (and adapted) his memory verse to “I love and obey God!” and later at home “I love mama and daddy!” 🙂 To be honest, I was kinda stunned that he paid enough attention to recall and put it to practice. Me of little faith!