Eight Great Ways to Raise Strong Kids: Answer Two Questions
This blog series is adapted from "Woman of Valor" written by Marilynn Chadwick. To download the full book, please go here. by Marilynn Chadwick Children are generally asking two questions: “Do you love me?” and “Can I have my own way?” They seem to thrive on love and limits. So, David and I would regularly say, “Yes, I love you" and “no you can’t always have your own way.” Focused attention, eye contact, lots of snuggles, a listening ear. There are many ways to say I love you. Limits are important too. Here’s a little secret: If it’s necessary to correct your children, give them consequences that are actually beneficial to them. For example, early bedtime; cleaning the bathroom; finishing a book instead of watching television; doing 50 jumping jacks to get the wiggles out. You get the point. I also learned as the kids reached middle school to go easier with eye contact. Chill out. Don’t bear down too hard in serious conversations. That’s probably why our best talks—especially the hard ones—happened while driving in the car. They’d tell me most anything I wanted to know if I didn’t intrude. Conversations in the van seemed to turn into spiritual lessons—I dubbed our drive time “e-van-gelism.” Faith is both caught and taught. I encouraged our kids to be on the lookout for signs of God at work—in big ways and small ones. We dared our kids to dream big and trust God with the results. But mostly, I wanted them to be able to hear God for themselves—to discern His voice from all the others.They didn’t know it, but I continually watched to see if they were shaping their views according to what they were learning at home or what the world was telling them. We also tried to help our kids experience the laboratory of answered prayer. We included them in our faith journeys. When we were hoping for a third baby, we encouraged the older two to join us in prayer. It took years of waiting, but they prayed relentlessly. I finally told God I was going to be “really upset if you let these little kids down.” And they were thrilled when their persistent prayers were answered with the arrival of their little brother! It really doesn’t matter where I travel. It’s the same in any culture—rich or poor. We can never underestimate the power of a strong and loving home. Home is where humans thrive and grow best. It’s where children should be nurtured. Instructed. Protected. It’s where they catch the faith. And where they’re free to dream. Especially when the home is built on the solid rock of faith in Jesus Christ. When a woman is both warrior and nurturer to her household, when she seeks the Lord with all her heart, when honor and respect are present, a home can produce children who are likely to change the world. This is the conclusion to our two week series on eight great ways to raise strong kids. I pray these have been a blessing to you as you continue to lead the little ones around you.