Three Lies Every Parent Needs to Know and Conquer!
As parents we want the very best for our kids. We want them to dream, achieve and believe the best for themselves.
Yet we live in a world that is constantly throwing negativity at us and at our families. It’s easy to find ourselves getting sucked into a mindset where we settle for less than what’s possible for our children to become. How do you avoid this? What thing can you as a mom, dad or caregiver do to help make sure that your child sees and believes the very best in him or herself.
The answer to this question could take volumes to unpack. However, here are three critical lies that our culture tells our children – lies that if they believe them, can keep our kids from becoming the highest and best version of who they were meant to be.
So parents, read this simple report and make a commitment to help your son or daughter reject these lies and as a result become all they are designed to be.
Lie #1: The world revolves around ME.
We are born selfish; an infant can sense only his or her own needs. This is a purposeful trait in the way we are designed. This self-centeredness allows our children to let us know when they are hungry, ill, or simply need to be held. Without this “selfishness” our children would not survive. As we faithfully meet those needs, we can begin to model the ideals of empathy, altruism, sharing, and kindness. No longer solely “self-focused,” a child can begin to express an outward “others-focus.” This taps into the noble, even divine aspects of our human nature.
As a parent, you have a critical role in helping your child mature from a small, self-centered view of the world to the bigger story. Your toddler will watch the way that you interact with your dog, slam your phone in anger, or roll your eyes at your spouse’s comment. You should begin to talk about your actions and reasons: “I pet Nikko because dogs need affection.” When your child sees an action that you do not want him to model, explain the reason why it is inappropriate: “I should not have slammed the phone. That was rude of me, wasn’t it?” Give words to actions, and speak motives and results aloud. In a celebrity-driven culture, the myth that the world revolves around you is a significant myth to debunk.
Lie #2: I can live without others.
We have already established that what we do affects others and that we are designed to be in relationship with others. The reality is that if you are to live in the big picture, you must realize that you are part of the community. Christian tradition says that every follower of Jesus is considered a member of one universal body. The imagery is powerful. The actions of one person are exponentially more effective when working as a member of a cohesive unit with others. To be optimally effective, we must be a part of the community.
The examples are numerous: a great violinist is a treasure to behold, but when he is a member of a symphony, masterpieces are per- formed and a fullness of the musical spectrum is achieved that is impossible with only a singular instrument. Allow your child to participate in a group that has a specific goal, like choir or soccer. Help them to understand the power that is present when many work for a common goal.
Lie #3: One person cannot change things.
It is better to have one person committed to a cause than ten people who only express half-hearted interest in it. It is counterintuitive to a child to believe that their story will make a difference. You can demonstrate this principle by conscientiously pointing out to your child the difference that their actions make in your home. Make certain to point out the positive impact that your child is contributing to the family: “Thank you for helping to clean the kitchen, now we have time to play a game.” “Teaching your younger brother to throw the ball well has really helped build his confidence. You really made a difference.” Praising your child by pointing out how their actions have affected those around them will encourage your kids to see that they make a difference. Also state when the contrary occurs: “You played too long and did not finish your homework so none of us can go to Baskin Robbins for ice cream tonight.”
Model these principles in your home. If you want your kids to be concerned about the needs of the poor, to have a kind and caring soul, then let them see those values in you. Do you want them to work hard, be diligent, and always willing to go the extra mile—to do more than what’s expected of them? Then let them see you live it. Living a big story is not the same as living an extravagant life. Sometimes the biggest stories occur in the most humble of settings. A courageous single mother who parents her child wisely while being the sole income and director for her home may not feel as if she is impacting the world, but her choices will.
We would be honored to join you on this journey of parenting. Please visit our website to purchase your copy of Shaping Your Family Story and allow Next Generation Institute, Inc. to support you in any way we can.
Dr. James Coffield
David Welday, III