Going to Baskin-Robbins should be fun, right? Why was this so frustrating? Patricia and I strolled into the ice cream store with visions of being caring, giving, joyful parents with two grateful, polite, and happy kids who would end up with ice cream all over their happy little faces. They would look up at us and say, “You are wonderful parents.” And of course, they would be right. . .but things were not going according to plan. Unfortunately, the kids had not read my script.
We got into the store where we faced 31 delicious flavors, each of them calling out to our little ones, “Choose me, choose me!” Of course, we didn’t hear that because we have adult ears. We said to our little ones, “What would you like?”
Whatever gave us the idea that a six-year-old and a four-year old could suddenly be confronted with this host of tempting flavors and simply make a decision to choose one? In short, we were nuts! They simply could not decide. They went into overload, like a computer trying to handle too much information too quickly, everything started to slow down. They just could not decide and be happy with their decisions. So. . . we stepped in.
We narrowed the choices down to three. Then they could focus and choose. We trimmed the options down so that they could handle it. This is one way that parents direct children: NARROW THE OPTIONS! How little we realize that we create problems by giving children too many choices too soon. The time will come soon enough that they will have more choices than we can control. As they grow we widen the options as they are ready.
For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just . . . (Gen. 18:19 )
God chose Abram in order for him to direct his children. In the beginning when they are young, we don’t negotiate; we don’t say, “OK?” after each instruction. We give direction; we are the parents. We give direction; we are the parents. We give direction; we are the parents. We give. . .
Gathered tips on giving directions: O’Shea and Windell, in their book Fatherstyle Advantage, say, “Make sure it is absolutely clear what is a command and what is a request. If you don’t mean it as a request (which has an option attached to it), then don’t state it that way."
Quote for the week: "Kids today are exposed to more stories that are more powerfully presented than at any time in history. Some are good. Too many are not. We as parents, must choose our children’s media stories carefully. Why? Because whoever tells the stories defines the culture." David Walsh, NO
Question for next week: Share a routine that makes life easier for your family.