Part of being an effective parent is knowing how to be an effective leader. We normally don’t think of parenting that way, but when you analyze it, you are attempting to lead these little ones to follow God. As a result I am drawn as much or more to books on leadership than I am to books on parenting.
I ended up loving this book. Personally I believe it is a must read for everyone. Whether you are a leader, a parent, attempting to raise a child with strong leadership skills or “just” a follower of leaders, this book has information you need to know and thoroughly digest.
One of the parenting mistakes I see the most is parents not taking the time to really listen to what their children have to say. For Christian parents, getting to know your child through listening, is especially crucial. What they tell you and share with you will give you glimpses into their hearts. As Christian parents, it is really the heart we are trying to mold towards God. It is almost impossible to mold what we don’t know.
One of the reasons parents don’t really listen to their children is that they don’t know how. Many current parents were not heard by their own parents. In fact, there are still many people alive today who believe “children should be seen and not heard”. If your parents never really listened to you or you were raised in a dysfunctional or abusive environment, how do you learn what to do differently?
Milan and Kay Merkovich may just have the help you need in their book, How We Love Our Kids. (You can read the first chapter here for free.) They have analyzed parents and have discovered five main types of parenting styles. Each of the styles has its own ways of not giving children the attention and real listening they need. Sadly, the children are often blamed for the resulting conflicts when it is the parenting style that is causing many of the issues.
Our daughter was five years old and having her kindergarten physical, when I requested a flu shot for her. The pediatrician looked at me somewhat condescendingly and informed me my daughter most likely wouldn’t catch it and if she did, it would be a mild case that would build up her immunity. In my gut, I knew he was wrong, but was intimidated enough to obey him. Guess whose child got a horrible case of the flu with after effects that went on for weeks? (Guess whose child has had a flu shot every year since!)
Guilt seems to be a natural part of mothering. We read an article and second guess our selves. Little old ladies are constantly telling us to put the socks and shoes back on our babies before something horrid happens. (Not that I’m bitter or anything, but you try keeping shoes on a baby!) And then there are those times when we really do make mistakes – some of them even rather serious at times.
Guilt can freeze you as a mother. You become afraid to make decisions for fear of making a mistake and suffering more guilt. If your struggle with guilt is severe enough, it can paralyze you to the extent you are incapable of parenting at all.
Funny thing about being in high school. A few years ago, I went back to my old high school. Since I had lived out of state for years and this was pre-Facebook, I had lost touch with almost everyone. As we stood around reminiscing about our past, I had an epiphany. Almost everyone in high school thinks they are not popular!
As I heard people I would have identified as some of the most popular kids in our class talk about being teased or not feeling like they fit in, I realized maybe the whole popular thing is more about learning to be comfortable in your own skin. Perhaps it is about realizing there is no “normal” person and being different can really be just great (in healthy, godly ways of course). Maybe our shared angst was actually more about discovering who we were than about how popular we thought we were.
Did you grow up in Church hearing about tithes or that you needed to give 10% of your income? Have you heard about something called the “prosperity gospel”or been told to give a lot to Church so God will give you a lot of things? Do you struggle with how much to give or if you should give based on your net or gross income? If we are confused about how to give to God, how are we going to teach the concept to our children?
Jeff Anderson has written a little book called Plastic Donuts. In it, he re-examines Biblical giving and applies it to today. What he found was interesting. In spite of much Church talk of a tithe, about half of the offerings commanded in the Old Testament were actually freewill offerings. Of course the obvious question is, “How much is that?”