Do you ever wonder if you are doing the right things for your kids? Do you worry about whether or not you are doing enough or that you are adequate as a parent? If so here is some reassuring news. What do you suppose is one of the most important gifts you can give to children?
Your love and delight in them! It is that simple. When you love them and show your enjoyment of them, they will usually respond back with such joy. The soil of your love and pleasure in them gives them the nourishment they need to thrive. Your delight brings forth the blooms of their beauty as the gifts, talents and abilities buried within begin to push through to bless the world!
Enjoying them and showing it, is one of the most effective communication strategies you can develop with children and teens. Then when you have to correct them, you already have a bank account of good will with them and they will respond better to your discipline.
I noticed this with my teens. We had adopted, our son Alex from Brazil at age fifteen. He graduated from a local university at age twenty-three. When asked what he wanted to do with his degree, Alex said, “I know I could have the good life in the USA but what I really want to do is find my siblings, get them out of poverty and give them the opportunities I had.”
Through a series of miracles, Alex found them and stayed in Brazil for five years to care for them. Since the mother died and the father abandoned them, my husband and I decided to adopt them to bring them to the USA. After we adopted them, we had a total of seven teens from poverty backgrounds we had adopted!
Needless to say, this was challenging. Though I’d had raised my other teens, this was different since there were three living with us at once as well our son, their brother, Alex.
One day, after they arrived, I talked to a friend and expressed my uncertainty about having so many at the same time. She said, “Sharon, relax. Love and enjoy them. Don’t try to be perfect or do everything perfectly. Love and delight in them and that is what they will remember when they grow up.”
Her words reminded me of insight I had in my previous parenting experience with our teens. One time I sensed God saying to me, “It’s more important that you love and delight in your children than that you do everything just right.” This approach definitely eased the many adjustments. Though we had plenty of conflict, this overall attitude made our lives more fun for them and for me.
Take the time to interact and delight in children, whether they are your own children & teens, your nieces and nephews, grandchildren, neighbor children or children you see at ball games, church or other events. There is no greater gift you can give them and the world.
“Children are a gift of the LORD,” Psalm 127:3 (NAS)