- The most important influence of family in a child’s development comes from the atmosphere created within the home.
- Money offers opportunities; but love, support and role modeling have a more positive impact on a son or daughter.
- Today parents and children devote less free time for unstructured interaction and leisurely dinners; but bonding is created from both.
- Families need to be aware of outside influences that impinge on the family.
I have read several research summaries regarding the influence of family on a child’s development. A few findings made an impression on me, and I would like to share them with you.
In today’s environment, how can a parent teach his child to have a work ethic like that of the ant (Prov. 6:6-8)?
Modeling To build a work ethic, a parent must prayerfully model it--not only in areas such as vocation and church attendance but also in personal devotional time and diligent parenting. Work ethic learned by a child begins with work ethic modeled by Dad and Mom.
Teaching How do you teach that young man to work hard and long when the hardest and longest manual project around the house might be to mow a small lawn? Parents who want to build into their children a biblical, godly work ethic probably have to be more intentional and creative than their forefathers. You may decide to have a garden simply to give an experience that requires hard manual labor and consistent tending and provides the struggle of failure and thrill of success. Maybe you are cheerfully and lovingly requiring your 4-year-old to help you fold the laundry from beginning to end until she earns the satisfaction of completing a task. Of course, teaching must include an understanding of the motivation--not for me, not for mom, but for the Lord, the true Rewarder.
Is it worth it? You bet! As your little person grows into an adult who lives out Col. 3:23, doing his work “heartily, as to the Lord,” you, too, will reap the reward of your diligent work.
While it may seem like an easy job on the surface, it does not take much consideration to realize how intense the ministry of teaching is.
Just think what it is like to invite 20 children to your house for a birthday party or fellowship. Are you not exhausted by the time you say goodbye to the last guest? Can you imagine being in charge of 20 children for 6 to 7 hours every weekday for 10 months? Among other duties, a teacher is responsible for organizing, teaching, disciplining, and counseling the students. Remember, too, that each family has a different way of doing things. One family may be very strict while another family may be very tolerant. While one family may want a teacher to clamp down, another may be asking the teacher to loosen up. The teacher is expected to cause each student to grow academically, socially, and spiritually—that is an awesome responsibility!
And what about all the breaks the teacher gets? During recess teachers can be observed working with individual students or straightening the classroom. Lunches are spent supervising meals or perhaps grading papers. And while the last class ends around 3 o’clock, a great deal of work remains for the teacher—helping load students into vehicles, picking up the classroom, grading papers, entering grades into the grade book, preparing the next day’s lessons, calling a parent, and working on the next week’s lesson plans. Teachers sacrifice regularly in order to teach.
So why do they do it? That’s simple. They love God, and they love your children. Please uphold our teachers in prayer and honor them by encouraging them as often as possible. Let us labor together to make a difference in your children’s lives by pointing them to Christ!
The first place to start when desiring to teach our children anything is with ourselves. How often do you find yourself starting a sentence with, “I am so thankful . . .”? It is so easy to fall into the trap of entitlement and discontentment. If we want grateful children, we ourselves must see our world with a grateful eye and heart.
Make gratitude a daily part of your conversation. It can be practiced on the way home from school, around the dinner table, or as part of a nightly bedtime routine. Older children can be encouraged to journal their thankfulness in a daily blessing book. Don’t make gratitude a seasonal attitude that only appears during November.
When gratitude grows in your heart, a natural response is generosity. Work together as a family to help others in need. This isn’t always a financial response. It can be your time. Also, don’t deny your children the opportunity of service in your home. Giving them simple tasks of helping with household chores helps them develop an appreciation for the effort that goes into a well-run home.
Sadly, thank-you notes have almost become extinct in our society. Help your child craft thank-you drawings or notes for others. You can begin by having small children dictate the note, and as they grow older they can draft them on their own. While the medium may change due to technological advances, notes of thanks should never disappear.
Gratitude is not just a feeling—it is a choice. In learning to choose gratitude, it is helpful to fill our hearts with Scripture and songs. It is difficult for bitterness to take root when your mind is filled with blessings. The book of Psalms is an excellent resource in time of pain, grief, and loss. The psalmist reminds us that in the midst of trials our hope is found in Christ. Your child’s life will not be free from hurt. Teach your children songs that will re-tether their hearts to a Savior Who can be trusted at all times. Happiness isn’t always tied to what is happening!
Sure, being in the presence of thankful children is more pleasant than listening to whiny ones, but it goes far beyond that. By choosing gratitude, children become less absorbed with themselves and more sensitive to the needs of others. Remember the most precious possession we can share with others is our knowledge of the Savior. When we realize all Christ has done for us, undeserving as we are, gratitude should overflow and propel us into action.