“If it is desirable that children be kind, appreciative, and pleasant, those qualities should be taught- not hoped for.” ~James Dobson
I love this quote! When raising our children, it is so easy to get caught up in the day to day things we MUST do- get them to school on time, provide healthy meals for them to enjoy, keep them clean and healthy etc. Because we are so busy, we HOPE they become kind, generous, loving people. Or maybe the thought crosses our minds and we think, “yeah, when they get a little older I will teach them those things. They don’t understand now.” It’s easy to let it go for now. But teaching kids the qualities you value is something you can do everyday from the beginning of their lives. It doesn’t even have to take any more of your time! Wow- I love when I can actually accomplish something that won’t take up any more of my time! Wahoo!
How? you might ask. Two steps:
Define what qualities are important to you.
It really is that easy! You see, our kids are watching us. They are learning from us. And they want to be like us! So if we have these qualities and live them out in our lives, our kids will naturally mimic our behaviors. For me, I really want to live out the Fruits of the Spirit that are spoke of in the Bible (Galations 5:22-23 for those of you interested). These qualities are love, joy, peace, perseverance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Christian or not, who can argue against what kind of life you will lead if those qualities are what you strive for? I fall short every day but I do get back up and strive again and again.
You may wonder how you live these out and show your children? Simple things like holding a door open for someone, letting someone go ahead of you in line, being kind to the cashier at the grocery store, showing self-control when your children are frustrating you! All of those things, being seen over and over, will become natural to your child. Then they will do them without thinking about it.
I think it is important to not just hope for these qualities but to teach them. More importantly we must do as we say so our children will do as we do. Thank you for reading. I hope you have a wonderful week!
*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.