Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Encouraging success in your children

Last week I went to a homeschooling conference where Jeannie Fulbright was one of the keynote speakers. I learned so much in her sessions that I wanted to share some of it with you. Much of it is geared toward homeschooling, but many of the principles I learned can be applied to all our of children.

The first session, "Encouraging Success in Your Children," was especially helpful to me. Here's why.

I'm a comparer. That means that deep down I worry my kids aren't measuring up academically with their classroom schooled counterparts. I'm afraid they won't succeed in life because I won't have equipped them properly. This session pretty much shot down all of my doubts and helped me see that God's definition of success is usually much different than most standards of success we see in today's world.

First, what is success? Most people would define success as getting a decent job and making enough money to maintain a certain standard of living. But that's not God's view. God has a purpose for each of our children to fulfill. When they've accomplished that, they are successful in His eyes.

Our job as parents is to cooperate with God by helping them find His purpose. We're not supposed to choose the path for them! It's so easy to fall into the trap of pushing them toward getting a job we think might be good for them. Instead, we need to let God lead them and show them how to be sensitive to His calling.

Here are some practical ways to do that.

1. Nurture their talents and gifts. God gave them those abilities for a reason. Allow them time to pursue their passions. Take the time for music lessons or sports if that's what they're good at. Focus on the mastery of their talents because that's what they'll use in the future to fulfill God's purpose for their lives.

2. Don't focus on their weaknesses. Lovingly work to bring them up to par, but don't spend so much time on their worst subject that they end up feeling like failures. No one has to learn everything before graduating from high school.

3. Adjust your expectations. Just because you loved a certain subject doesn't mean your child will. Don't expect them to be you. What you envision for their future might not be God's vision for them. You may dream of your son becoming a doctor or your daughter becoming an attorney. God might want them to work for a non-profit organization making next to nothing. If that is His design for them, they are successful whether they're bringing in the big bucks or not.

4. Give them the freedom to change directions if necessary. Some children say they know what they want to be when they grow up and never waver from that goal. Others change their minds every week. Right now the Princess wants to be a ballerina, then an ice skater, and later a paleontologist. Make sure your children know you support them as they seek God's will. Pray with them and ask God for guidance. Each step they take is molding them into the person God wants them to be.

5. Most importantly, teach them to walk with God. Academics are important, but it's vital that your children know God. Discuss spiritual truths with them, not just Bible stories they know by heart. Delve into the lessons of those stories. If they're going through a rough time spiritually, set the academics aside until the spiritual battle is won. Their relationship with God is more important than the grade they make on a quiz or test.

Whoa! That last one is tough for me! I don't have time to deal with a bad attitude....we MUST finish our math lesson! How many times have I done that? Gulp!

I know I have a lot to work on to encourage my children to be successful. I want my view of success (and theirs) to be in line with God's view.

1 comment:

  1. Great post!! We all need to be reminded of these truths from time to time as the world has a way of clouding them for us over time!