One of my greatest memories growing up was a certain Christmas where I got the perfect trifecta of gifts! When I was seven I got an erector set, a wood burning kit and lawn darts! Can you imagine an ADD kid with lawn darts?
Now, especially during this season, we think more about giving gifts than not giving gifts but I would like to suggest three things that we should not give our kids this season. 5 gifts if you include lawn darts and a wood burning kit.
1. Never Give Up
Parenting is tough. It isn’t an easy road and it’s a never ending journey. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing journey and a joyful road however, from time to time, we feel or have felt complete and utter exhaustion. It’s at that moment when we need to turn to Galatians 6:9 MSG. "So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit.”
Parents, we should never give up! I know it’s easy to think “I am the only parent in the world who has a teenage daughter who is 'always right' or I am the only parent who has to remind their child 17 times to take out the trash.” I love doing parenting conferences where I ask parents to raise their hands if they have experienced certain rude and frustrating behaviors. A warm soothing feeling enters the room when all the parents look around and realize they are not in this alone. Put yourself in “time-out” for a few minutes but never give up!
2. Never Give In
When I say “Never Give In” it may spark a few different meanings depending where you are on your parenting journey. If you have pre-schoolers at home you may hear a rapid barrage of “mine, mine, mine” or “no, no, no” followed by kicking and screaming and no, I’m not talking about your spouse. You may think “I will never give in!”
Perhaps you have teenagers at home! If so, then thoughts of "never give in” may bounce around your mind when you see the rolling eyes of your 16 year old daughter walk away from you with a flippant “whatever mom” while mumbling under her breath.
Although both may fit the idea of “never give in” I was thinking of something different. I was thinking that, as parents, we should never give in to selfishness. There are times when I have been wrong as a parent and have forced my way just because I could. It’s not healthy. Never give in to pride, resist it. I love what Ephesians 6:4 says from The Message, "(Parents), don't exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master."
3. Never Give Out
We should never give out of an unhealthy heart or mind. When enforcing a consequence for an inappropriate behavior we need to make sure our heart is healthy and our mind is ready. Sometimes I would over consequence or over punish my children when they were younger by wanting to send them to their room “until Jesus comes back.” That’s giving out of an impatient, frustrated and emotionally dysregulated heart, not a calm, mindful and healthy heart. Here are a few reminders.
"Everything you say should be kind and well thought…" Colossians 4:6 GW
"Good people do good things because of the good in their hearts….Your words show what is in your heart." Luke 6:45 CEV
"Don't shoot off your mouth, or speak before you think…" Ecclesiastes 5:2 MSG
1. What are you going to give your kids today?
2. What are you going to stop giving your kids today?
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