Raising Confident Children, pt. 1

Do you remember the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where Marie tags along with Robert when he is interviewing for a promotion??? I belly laughed watching Marie’s inability to allow her adult son to speak for himself and to witness the king size Robert act like a six year old boy.

This morning I found that exact scenario in the Bible!!! Brothers James and John wanted a promise from Jesus to promote them and they showed up at the appointment with their mother as their spokesperson!! What’s wrong with this picture? None of these guys was confident enough to ask for what he wanted.

Raising children is like a great sporting event. Parents move in and out of three roles; teaching, coaching and cheering. In the early years of childrearing, a parents’ role falls primarily in the teaching category. This involves “explicit instruction” (what we intend to teach) as well as “indirect instruction” (what children learn from watching and listening).

Explicit instruction is teaching children what “you” want them to know. “Watch me” and “Do it like this” are natural. Most of us have a bank of behaviors and attitudes we want our children to learn. We begin imparting these from the moment we think our kids are ready to imitate. Waving bye bye and blowing kisses are some of the first social behaviors we teach our children.

Indirect instruction can be the booby trap!! On one hand, we might tell little ones they should respect all adults but then they witness us revert to our own childish ways when they see a parent make a face or speak something unkind behind someone’s back.

What happens after that is hilarious!!! We’re surprised when our children imitate our inappropriate behaviors!!! Then we have the job of attempting to undo the web we’ve woven with our repetitive statements of “Watch me” and “Do it this way.”

One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to care for ourselves, physically, mentally and emotionally. The more steps we take towards wholeness the less time we spend feeling guilty and scrambling to unravel the conflicting messages of our words and actions.

MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF!! You have value and have been entrusted with the great responsibility of preparing the next generation to be effective members of society. Lead the winning team by showing your children that healthy people take time for others and themselves.