A few days ago, I was headed out the door to donate blood and my daughter said, “Wait Mommy!” She had made a card for the Red Cross workers telling them thank you and that we’re praying for them without my prompting.
Far above being the most talented dancer in the recital, getting the highest grades in school, or being the best player on the basketball court, I care about her heart. Her character.
While I fall short many times, that’s what I’m doing my best to invest in.
It is tiring as a parent when we work hard at guiding and loving our kids, and then they make disappointing choices, but that does not define them. And, let’s remember that we’re not exempt from doing that ourselves. We all fall short sometimes.
Take a look at something your kids ARE doing well, and recognize that. Tell them you see it and that you are proud of them. Better yet, tell them they should be proud of themselves.
For those of you who are practical mamas, here are three things we’ve done to try to encourage gratitude in our kids (would love to hear your ideas too):
1. We’ve started each school day in prayer. We go in a circle and we each say a short prayer- either one sentence or a few. Some days we focus on praise, other days, confessing our sins, giving thanks, and/or specific prayers. The point is just to make time to talk to God together.
2. We talk often about ways to love others well, like the Lord tells us to.
3. We’ve read the story many times about the ten men with leprosy in Luke 17:11-17. After Jesus healed all ten men, only ONE came back to say thank you and praise Him. “Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well.'” We talk often about the importance of being thankful to the Lord and others and how it’s a simple way to love well.
There will be times when our kids don’t make the best choices since they’re not robots, but let’s keep investing in their hearts – in what matters. And when they do make a great choice, let’s not forget to notice.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7