BY KELLIE TIPTON
I will never forget some simple principles I learned as a young mom of three children when we were in the midst of it all. You know what I mean when I say “in the midst of it all”, right? Whether you are there right now, or you remember, it is a time of seeking serious wisdom and help along with much needed naps!
As parents of three children all three and under, my husband and I were really trying to understand how to not just survive each day but really understand each other, each child and give them tools to use as they learned about life.
When I think on those days, I am overwhelmed because while there were many hectic and sleepless days, they were days I watched my children develop so many life skills and one was how to work together as a family.
Our basic nature is to only think about ourselves and we have to be taught and shown to do otherwise. If you don’t believe me, just observe a Toddler as they see someone else having fun with a toy and you can see them processing that if they had that specific toy, they too would be happy. Oh the joy of trying to teach them to take turns and share!
One of our building blocks in our parenting was a class we took at our church that walked us through some basic principles on parenting and being a family.
It taught us that as husband and wife, we are family already and we needed to be sure to place our relationship first before our children. It is so easy to focus on the children and lose the relationship that began the family.
We were given “homework” where we set aside time to sit and talk by ourselves. It was a time to reconnect with each other. Now with little ones you are limited on time and focus, but the children began to look forward to seeing us sit and talk. It helped them recognize that we had a special relationship and that gave them this peace and security.
We taught our children to say “Yes ma’am, Yes sir, No ma’am, No sir” and while many have thought it to be old fashioned, so be it. It immediately taught them the importance of respect as you respond and communicate with those older than them.
One that was a lifesaver and when I say “lifesaver”, I mean my children’s lives! It was a technique of how to interrupt a conversation respectfully. When one of the children needed me and I was in the midst of something or in a conversation they would place their hand on my arm, hip, or leg and wait. My part was to acknowledge them by placing my hand on their hand just to let them know I see them and I will get to them as soon as I am finished. I was sure not to make them wait unnecessarily long of course but it would calm their little nerves to know I knew they were there.
Once I was done with whatever I was doing or finished what I was saying, I would turn to them and give them my complete attention. It saved so many situations that could have been so frustrating and it also gave my children skills in communicating and respecting others at the same time.
While there were many principles taught, those were a few that stand out to me still to this day. These principles were life skills and tools that gave my children security and a way of communicating while showing respect. It also helped in leading our children spiritually as we walked through life together.
It is truly like building blocks, because it is never just one principle or one conversation that prepares our children for life and in their relationship with the Lord. It is a lifestyle of conversations, walking it out before them, with them as they grow up and as they walk it out on their own.
Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 2 “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.