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False Expectations on Life - Issue 246
April 20, 2012
|Hi there! ....
This week: We had a good balance of getting things done and spending time together. I set myself three major tasks to do in the office and though I only managed to complete two I feel a sense of accomplishment. Daniel spent a day building a raft - he tested it in the irrigation channels. Nomi painted a picture. Jess has been asked to be secretary for a community group so she had that on this week. We spent the morning at a local waterhole and this morning we head off to the markets to buy some seedlings for our ever hopeful veggie garden!
Live life with your kids!
If you are an Australian reader I would appreciate you reading this special request.
False Expectations on Life
Are there things we do, maybe inadvertently, that set our kids up for false expectations on life? I read an article this week that said that Gen Y is a generation who has grown up with unconditional love and encouragement that they can do whatever they want – when it comes to real life they are unable to handle criticism. Is my family heading the same way? Are our children prepared to face real life or have they been cocooned in false expectations?
We want the best for our children and it is easy to paint a rosy picture for them. Here are three areas that we need to be careful in as we encourage our children.
I am invincible. I remember hearing a presentation to mums encouraging them to let their boys run risks. The speaker’s theory (and it rings true to me) is that the reason young men feel they are invincible when they finally get their driver’s license is that they have never hurt themselves. Playgrounds are padded and physical contact sports are discouraged; as parents we make sure our kids are safe. The downside of this is that our kids never find themselves in a physically risky situation where they have to assess the risk versus their abilities, and then they never have to actually put it to the test. They therefore grow up convinced they can do anything safely – after all safe has been their experience. This really helped me with parenting Daniel. He likes to take risks. He’ll do things that I think aren’t really safe though I now say to myself “He’s in risk management training!” I have learnt to be guided by Peter in these areas – it seems to be a man/boy thing and I don’t want to hinder just because I’m not so adventurous. My boys need to learn to not only take physical risks but they need to know their limitations. They won’t learn this if I shield them from every opportunity. (My girls probably need to learn this too.)
The thing is, our kids need to learn to take other risks too – emotional and social (like meeting new people), spiritual (like stepping out in faith when you believe God has prompted you), moral (like standing alone), practical (like starting a new job or business).
Our life is not supposed to be without risk. Risk is addressing possibilities and handling the good with the bad. Our children need to understand the pros and cons, the possibilities of good and bad, and accept failures when they come. This starts when they are young – do you encourage them to do new things, overcome their fears, accept their mistakes, and find solutions when things go wrong. Or do you keep them only doing the things they’ll be successful with?
One day Josh was trying to change a light fitting and things weren’t going well (not the usual house lighting). Daniel who couldn’t reach the ceiling even with the ladder came up and directed Josh how to do it. Daniel had never done it himself, though he had watched his dad do it many times. Daniel understands how things work – this isn’t one of Joshua’s strengths. I was sharing this story to someone, illustrating my kids different strengths and the lady was stunned that Josh didn’t take offense at his little brother telling him what to do. But, as I explained to her, Josh is secure in his strengths and understands his weaknesses. He also recognises his brother’s strengths and in doing so they can help each other succeed, they can work together without the pressure of competition.
There is a difference between telling our kids – “you can do anything you want in life”, and telling them – “You can do anything God has created you for”. Our kids need to know and accept who God has made them.
Lessons from Character First teaches us that
Does your child recognise that others helped him be as good as he is (even if he isn’t the best), does he go about doing what he is good at quietly, does he use the skills he has to serve others, does he do the little and dirty jobs that don’t require his ‘skill’?
The example around us is that when people have a specialised skill they elevate their abilities, they do all they can to be recognised and advance themselves. There has to be a balance between recognising that you have the skill and then how you use it. We are in a better place when we can believe (and live accordingly) that God has given us a skill, ability or passion and that His purpose for us is to give glory to Him not shape a status for ourselves. Have you taught your children to consider the things they are good at and yet keep it in balance with humility?
Though we want our children to be safe, confident and hopeful for their future our words of encouragement need to be based on truth. Life isn’t rosy, there are challenges, and they will have disappointments and hard times. If we shield our kids from these realities now they will be hit with a shock later in life. Our role as parents is to prepare our children for a real world – a world that has rejection and acceptance, criticism and praise, limitations and opportunities, boundaries and freedoms, responsibilities and privileges, trials and blessings, disillusionments and encouragements and so forth.
Let us be real in how we encourage our children to live their life. Our children can face the world, without fear, without uncertainty if they stand on the truth that God is their refuge, their strength and will be present in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1)
I blog during the week over at Live life with your Kids Blog. This week I wrote:
This week I also posted over at Homeschoolblogger Company Porch Making Scrapbooking Educational If you like to scrapbook include your kids and put it down to an educational experience
Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.
Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.
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