A conference speaker asked a volunteer from the audience: “If I were to place an I-beam across the floor, would you walk across it for $20?”
“Sure!” the volunteer replied eagerly.
“What if that I-Beam were suspended between two tall buildings, forty stories in the air?” She shook her head, “No.”
“Ok,” said the speaker, “Suppose the I-beam is forty stories in the air, but this time, you are on one building and I am on the other. If I were to be holding one of your kids, and threatened to drop that child if you didn’t come across – would you do it?”
She hesitated, then asked, “Which one have you got?”
If you’re a parent, I’m sure you get frustrated with your children at times, but I hope not to that extent!
The Psalmist said, “Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him” (Psalms 127:3 NLT).
We tend to feel that way when we’ve been apart for awhile and miss them. But the time that matters most to your kids is when you are together. Do they sense that you see them as gifts from God? Are you making it obvious that you view them as the Lord’s reward? Or do they feel more like they are a bother…in the way?
Letting your kids know how special they are involves more than frequently saying, “I love you.”
Here’s how they know that they matter to you.
• Plan time together. Sure, an evening at home doing nothing can be fun, but probably a lot more enjoyable to you than to your kids. Plan periodic special events. Take them to the museum, the zoo, picnic at the park, play catch or a board game.
• Teach them. Tell them why you believe what you believe. Explain to them the purpose of your house rules. And most important of all, teach them about God. Teach them how to pray by praying with them (conversationally). Get a children’s Bible story book and tell them the stories. Bridge Kids can be a big help, but it’s really only a help. Learning about God from you will make a far greater impact.
• Listen to them. Nothing makes a person feel unimportant as being ignored. Maybe they aren’t as intelligent as you, yet. But you may learn from that little thought process, if you listen. And the communication habits you start while they are young will mean a lot to you when they get into their teenage years. Slow down…listen to what they say…learn everything you can about their little hearts.
• Set limits. Undisciplined children are kids crying to be noticed enough to be taught how to behave. It’s a lot easier to ignore bad behavior, but it is not loving. Children disciplined in love know that they are important.
I’m sure that you view your children as gifts from God. But it matters more that they know that you view them that way. It’s not enough to say it. They have to be convinced of it. Plan your time together, intentionally teach them values and spiritual truths, listen carefully to them, and don’t be afraid to discipline.