I have to admit, I secretly enjoy a good Star Trek episode from time to time. Not so much that I own a pair of Vulcan ears, but enough to have a few favorite episodes and catch phrases. On one of the newer versions of the franchise, the captain would say, “Make it so”, when told of how something should be done to solve a problem.
I think one of the hardest parts of parenting is knowing when to be an advocate for your child and when to step back. Everyone secretly fears become a “pageant” or “backstage” Mom. We have had some experiences recently that helped me realize at least one time where I think you need to jump in and intervene.
Let’s be honest. If you have been a parent for more than a day, you know there are some days you can’t even think about dedicating your child’s life to God. Frankly, you just feel you have accomplished something major when you put him to bed in one piece at the end of the day (and some days even that is in question!).
I used to feel guilty after having a string of days when everyone was sick, everything broke down and everyone wanted my help with something. It seemed like everything was sliding – housework, nutrition and let’s not even talk about manners, rules and teaching about God.
Even if you have managed to banish the “gimmes” from your home, it doesn’t mean gratitude will automatically flood into your child. In some ways I think developing a constant “attitude of gratitude” is a lifelong process. Partially because it takes some life experiences to reinforce how much you really do have to be grateful for in your life. Or perhaps we just become too distracted with the annoyances of life to remember all of the things that are going “right”. Whatever the cause, parents can begin laying the groundwork for their children to become grateful.
Greedy children appear to concern a lot of people this time of year. It seems like everyone has a child with the “gimmes” especially during the holidays. In fact my daughter and I caught a segment where a “parenting expert” was counseling parents on how to “cure” their children. Her main advice was for parents to tell their children it was a recession and they couldn’t afford much.
My daughter snorted, “Then they’ll just wait until the economy is better and expect double presents!” She is right. There are a lot of ways to help your child take the focus off of what they can get, but giving them partial or incorrect information is not the best plan.
Our daughter is incredibly responsible with money and always has a very reasonable and short “wish list”. In fact, she rarely has more than two or three items on her entire Christmas list. As my daughter and I discussed what we had done to help her grow her attitudes towards material things, I realized there were some easy things anyone could do with their children.
My small group Bible study has been reading a book about Jewish customs during Jesus’ lifetime on earth. I found it interesting that during this time period the Jewish people used every opportunity to discuss God’s words. In fact it was not unusual for a small group of people to break away during a wedding or other celebration to talk about the Torah or other teachings. This week we even learned that one of the main focal points of meals was to use them as an opportunity to teach their children about God, the stories of the Bible and the lessons to be learned from them.