Heart Parenting Strategy: Affirm Approximately Right Behavior
Like many things, it’s about putting emphasis on the positive, rather than continually pointing out the negative. I mean really, who enjoys hearing constantly about how they are not measuring up? We are all works in progress, in need of grace and time to become all that God has planned for us.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
Kids are kids for 20 years or so for a reason. They have a lot to learn. Growth takes time, and encouraging them in that growth helps build their character. What we want are kids who mature into adults that are self-governed for the purpose of obeying and pleasing God. It’s in the process, that the this maturation takes place. I know that if I can couple the strategy of affirming almost right behavior with transferring responsibility for change over to Ben, we will have a plan that will likely lead to success for Ben in many areas of his life.
We need to let our kids know that working diligently and making progress is enough, as long as we are working as if for the LORD. I now work hard every day trying to recognize when Ben is working hard. Instead of getting frustrated at the lack of progress and nagging, yelling, or discouraging him with my words, I am spending more time affirming his progress. It has made a huge difference in his willingness to overcome issues of distraction, areas of weakness or lack of motivation. It is life-giving for him to have me encouraging him by pointing out how far he has come. When Ben can see the progress he’s making, he is willing to try even harder.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Love is not nagging, yelling, and criticizing. It is not focusing on weaknesses to the exclusion of progress made. It is looking toward the future of our kids with hope and endurance. Remember, the days are long, but the years are short. Let’s spend that time cheering our kids on. The next time your child almost gets it right, celebrate the effort and watch him flourish.
10 Days of Heart Parenting is a series God laid on my heart after I read the book, The Christian Parenting Handbook by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, R.N. Be sure to click over to read the other installments of this biblical parenting series.