We recently had a birthday in our house and going on a hike was the birthday child’s activity of choice. It would have been very easy for us to deny this request for many good reasons. But instead, we chose to honor him by saying yes and finding the time to do this activity as a family.
I’ve found that it’s far too easy for me to let the busyness of life take control of my day and not remain intentional in our relationships. My children are each a unique blessing from God and deserve my respect and value. And really, if I expect my children to be able to show me honor, then I have to be able to model it myself.
Here are eight ways I try to honor my children in this beautiful and messy journey of motherhood.
Study Your Child
In order to gain a solid understanding of any subject, we have to study it. The same goes for any good relationship, including our children. We need to understand what makes each of our children tick in order to meet their needs well.
What type of personality does s/he have? Which learning style seems to work best for my child? If we don’t take the time to learn who they are, then we will all suffer frustration and misunderstanding. A great place to start is with the book The Five Love Languages of a Child.
Show a Genuine Interest
Take a genuine interest in what your child is passionate about. Spending 30 minutes to play a video game with your child may sound like torture, but taking the time to learn about and share in your child’s interests will go a long way to developing a strong relationship.
Have a tea party. Play cowboys. Watch the 500th remake of a Lego stop motion video your child has been creating with a smile on your face. Show your child that the things s/he likes are important to you.
Acknowledge Their Feelings
Don’t trivialize the way that your child feels. Handle their feelings seriously and with care. Don’t make jokes or belittle them. Let your children know that how they feel is important to you. Share in their joy and excitement. Hold their hands through discouragement and disappointment. Be their biggest cheerleader and their biggest champion!
Find Ways to Say Yes
If your child has a reasonable request, find a way to say yes. Don’t let inconvenience rob you and your child of opportunities to build your relationship and create memories. There are plenty of times we have to say no as parents, so be on the lookout for ways that you can say yes.
Keep Your Word
Our children need to believe what we say to them. If you want your child to trust you, don’t make a habit of breaking your word. Being consistent is also really important.
Admit When You Are Wrong
Be willing to acknowledge when you are wrong. Apologize, seek their forgiveness, and pray together. This will not only strengthen your relationship with your child, but will teach your child the right way to reconcile with others.
Give Your Full Attention
Be engaged when you are with your children. Ask questions. Look your children in the eyes when you talk with them. Turn off your phone or at least set a phone free time at meals. Our children need to know that we are listening and they have our full attention.
Celebrate Your Child
Share in your children’s accomplishments, no matter how big or small. Even if it’s just a high five and a big smile. Let’s face it, we all like affirmation and children need it too. Speak words of life over your children. Remember to tell your children that you are glad they were born and that you like the way God made them.
As we purposefully choose to do these things, we are not only building strong relationships with our children but providing a model for them to follow in the future as they make relationships with others. These are the things that build a real legacy.
What are some ways that you honor your child?