The moment that we sign up to be parents we commit to love our children – we commit to this both when they are the sweet dimple faced darlings that we know they can be and when they are… well…not. Those are the times when it’s good to have a few ideas tucked away as a helpful reminder that this is a marathon – not a sprint. It is about crossing the finish line as a team not climbing every mountain in unison. With that in mind, let us aspire to show our children daily that we love them. This does not mean that we always agree with them or enjoy them. It does not mean that we are their friend. It means that we are relentlessly and irrevocably committed to their future and well-being. We are an immovable force, separated only by death, and bound by sheer determination and the will of Almighty God to stand firm in our resolve.
1. Spend time with your children. Plan activities other than watching TV together. Go to museums, the park, play board games and “vacation” when you’re right at home.
2. Cook meals often. Have dinner together as a family complete with desert. (which is, after all, the most important part of the meal) Good home-cooked food can truly evoke a feeling of fellowship and comfort after a long day.
3. Write small notes (cards or sticky notes) of encouragement for your kids. Leave them around the house in common areas. Remember, “A gentle words turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1 NIV)
4. Give your children small, simple gifts to show them that you care. Do this not because it is a birthday or holiday, but just to show that you care.
5. Listen to your children. Simply stated be, “Quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19 NIV)
6. Never discipline your children while you’re angry. (Trust me; I struggle with this as much as the next person.) How easy it is to become so consumed with our own feelings that we forget it is a marathon not a sprint and we must be the one to set the pace. This does not mean that we neglect to discipline our children – only that we do so out of love and not to indulge our own feelings of anger.
7. Pray for your children. Pray Bible verses over your children. Tap into the power of the Almighty Father. “Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7 NIV) There comes a time when the door is too heavy and great a burden for our own strength. It is then that we must remember to knock.