CHARACTER NURTURING: Making The Choice to Know Our Children (part 1 of 4)

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First off I have to say, this is all my opinion. The only backing I have to any of this is personal experience, a college degree in Education and some stuff I heard on the radio. If you’re okay with that, then please, continue!

When my oldest was 5 months old and showing signs of distinctiveness, one concern of mine was not truly knowing her. How she ticked, what made her, her. The books I read just encouraged me that I would “know her” just because we spent time together.

Those books were right.

At first, during the baby/young toddler age, I was just trying to keep her alive and keep my home from utter destruction.

Building character was not even a thought in my mind.

I knew that she was easily trainable in the area of not touching things, that it was hard to make her laugh, that she needed alone time and hated meat of all kinds. My goal was to produce a well-behaved child who would bring about the praises of all those she encountered. Now that sounded PERFECT!

Let the well intended discipline begin.

Soon I was exhausted and we were both miserable!!

When she was around 18 months, some glimmers of character weakness started popping up and I tried to handle them with ONLY discipline.

That’s what I’d been doing before, that’s all I knew.

One day after feeling like I was on her butt all day with only guilt to show for it, I heard some wise advice on a parenting radio show.

(Warning: This is not verbatim) “You are not trying to raise a well-behaved 2, 3, 4, 5-year-old but an adult with strong character.”

Wow, pressures off!! You mean I didn’t have to discipline this child into ONLY a well-behaved 2-year-old!! I have years to see the fruits of my labor and that’s acceptable?!

This was great news. But the radio show went on to talk about the difference between behavior development and character development. In order to develop my daughter’s character I needed to know her on a much deeper level!

So where does this bring us?

Well, we have to make a choice.

Do we desire just a well-behaved child who might make our lives a bit easier and make us look “killer” in public? One who may, or may not, continue in that good behavior when they leave our loving home?

Or do we desire a child who has deep-rooted character that will bless those around them? I rich blessing to their family, friends, teachers, coaches, spouses, our future grand-babies and themselves?

We have to make a choice because these two mindsets cannot co-exist.

You will lean more towards one or the other.

HONESTY CHECK:  I am not always a character nurturer. Shocking I know. I fall back into a behavior pusher all the time. It seems so much easier in the moment to give swift discipline or to yell. But being a behavior pusher always equals two things; exhaustion and few good lifelong results. Character nurturing, however, will equal exhaustion (being a parent is tiring) but with delightful, life long results.

And these are our children who we have been blessed with raising.

Let’s raise them, love them in a way that shows our desire for them to take hold of life that is truly life! (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

What do you think of when you hear the word “nurture”?

It’s Been a Pleasure,

Your Moderate Mama

NEXT TIME: A Look Inward

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