In Colorado, we’re locked in the throes of winter. Cold. Snow. Ice.
I can’t wait for the return of summer because summer means camping for my family. We love getting outdoors. We love parking our fifth wheel in some remote location where the sounds of nature aren’t drowned out by cars and busyness.
When there’s a lake nearby, the first thing my boys do is grab rocks to throw into the water. The bigger the better. For them, it’s all about the splash.
Me? I’m intrigued by the ripples. Long after the splash is over, ripples continue to spread outward well beyond the place from which they originated.
To me, that’s a metaphor for how far into the future a parent’s influence ripples. Your choices today will impact your child next week, next year, and for generations to come. It’s amazing to consider. Not only are you passing on important lessons about life, character, faith, and family to your children, but you’re passing on those lessons to your grandkids and beyond.
Youth expert and author Doug Fields says there are several things you can do to create a relationship with your son or daughter that will transmit life’s most important values:
- Encouraging words. Your words instill confidence in your children or destroy their hope.
- Genuine affection. Children have “skin hunger.” They need physical affection in appropriate ways, so they don’t seek it out in inappropriate ways.
- Delicate discipline. Guide your children with disciplined love, not angry punishment. Yelling doesn’t work. Instead, enable your children to exercise their power of choice and to deal with the consequences.
- Responsibility is learned. Don’t lecture your child about forgetting their lunch, but don’t take it to them, either.
- Serious fun. Today’s generation of kids is stressed out. Fun and laughter help children release stress and anxiety. “Fun release” diminishes fear, hostility, and anger.
Parenting is much more than a job or an obligation. It’s a high calling. It’s a life purpose. One of the most spiritual things you can do is invest yourself in your children. (Mark 9:36-37).
On our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Making Parenting Fun,” we’re airing a recorded message from Doug Fields that will encourage you as a parent and help you understand the significant influence you have on your children. Join us on your local radio station, online, on iTunes, via Podcast, or on our free phone app.
Doug and his wife Cathy have co-authored a book titled Intentional Parenting: 10 Ways to Be an Exceptional Parent in a Quick-Fix World. We’d like to offer you a copy for a gift of any amount. Check here for details.
And while you’re online, why not save a few minutes to take our free parenting assessment? It will quickly give you an overview of how your family is doing in several key areas and offer suggestions on how you can improve the relationships in your home.