This week we are enjoying having our out-of-town grandchildren and their parents with us. Reagan is eight and all girl. Luke is four and all boy. They are both all fun.
Last week I face timed with them and talked about what we would do special this week. I discussed what I’m doing around the house and told them that I would let them help me.
Luke became immediately animated and exclaimed: “I have tools!”
I had to laugh out loud at his joy in getting to do work. It reminded me of what we know about children.
First, children want to be included in the lives of their family. Of course, children can’t do everything nor should they do everything, but where it’s possible they want to be full members of the family. I believe there are many things you shouldn’t tell children, but I also believe that children should be a part of the family structure as it’s appropriate.
I often have to help families tell their children about death. This, of course, is very hard, but it is very necessary. I always encourage the family to let the children grieve and to be a part of the whole family process.
I do this because when my grandfather died when I was eight I didn’t sit with my family for the funeral but in the back of the church with my other grandmother.
That hasn’t affected me in life, but I still remember it. I wanted to be part of the family.
Second, children need to be encouraged. They need to hear, “You can do this.” They need to be “caught” doing good things and giving their best effort. They respond well to encouragement and expectations.
Third, children want and need to be taught. You only learn by doing. Right now, I’m watching Martha painstakingly helping Reagan bake and “ice” a red velvet cake. You learn by doing.
I would really like to live long enough to hear Reagan remember baking her first red velvet cake with Honey.
Fourth, children become much of what we program them to be. Their minds are completely open and ready to be filled. We either fill them with the positive or the negative – – we get to choose.
The words of Paul could have been written about your children, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).