Hello again, Friends!
There are a lot of voices telling us what to think and do. An example is the cacophony of voices shrilly hawking their opinions as “fact,” and nearly drowning the voices of reason during this political season. It takes strength not to be overwhelmed by the “sound and fury” of it all.
Do any of you remember civility? Has politeness gone the way of the dinosaur? Certainly not! The following commentary, from the New Vision Church women’s ministry (Bowie, MD), discusses guiding children through the process of finding their voice. Please engage in this discussion by leaving a comment. Thank you and enjoy!
Back in “old school” days, children were expected to be seen and not heard. Grown folks’ conversation was off limits. Today these traditions may seem out–dated and unrealistic. While very strict parenting of yesteryear may be too rigid in the 21st century, parenting today can go to the other extreme of being too liberal or too lax. Today children are encouraged to express themselves; but unchecked self-expression easily becomes contemptible and disrespectful.
We want our children to be polite, poised and assertive. How do we, as Christian women, help our charges to find their voices, their appropriate self-expression? What tools can we use to teach our children to properly respond to authority as we mold them into confident, productive citizens?
Children’s language skills form early. We smile and coo when infants babble. When toddlers form their first words, we cheer and applaud. What we find exciting and praise-worthy early on, can become irritating as children’s expressions change from cute and funny to rude and demanding.
What happened, why the change from joyful excitement to short-tempered annoyance? The stresses of life– life-draining fatigue, not enough resources, and a host of other demands that frame our world happened. We want to engage our little ones, but sometimes we are so overwhelmed that we just want a little solitude and quiet…just a few minutes of blessed silence. So in our fatigued, stressed humanity we shut out our children’s voices. Being the smart children we raised them to be, they eventually get the message and stop talking…they lose their voice. The incessant talking finally has stopped and we have the quiet we wanted; but what have we lost? What price have we paid for this blessed silence? Can we ever recover the joy of engaging our children in happy conversation? Will they ever want to talk to us again?
There is hope! With love, prayer, a little imagination and patience, we can once again enjoy talking with our children, and hopefully, they will reciprocate. We can help them regain their voice. Let’s start with common ground. What hobbies, interests, or talents does your child have that you are or might become involved in? While “techie” kids enjoy laughing at our struggles with technology, they also may enjoy teaching mom a new tech skill or help her upgrade an old one. Become the student and be sure to praise your “teacher.”
Enter into your child’s world of play. Have fun! Be silly. Let the child in you connect with your child (even eye-rolling teenagers like to laugh now and then). Finally, pray with your child. Better yet, let your child pray for you. Stumbling though their words may be, children will gradually become skilled in prayer, and as their skill level rises, so will their confidence. Praying and playing with our children, nurturing their gifts and talents, modeling Christ-like behavior—all of these are needed to help the next generation find their voices and boldly raise them to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
“Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
let them proclaim your power.” Psalm 145:4 (NTL)
“Let this be recorded for future generations,
so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord. “ Psalm 102:18 (NTL)
- How To Teach Your Child Good Manners (housewifesutopia.com)