Thoughts from the Headmaster
As we get closer to summer being upon us, I thought it would be beneficial to continue the series that we began last Friday in this section. Please take a few minutes and read and ponder Part II of “Raise Respectful Kids in a Disrespectful World” by Whitney Hopler (crosswalk.com)
Emphasize purpose rather than performance. Examine your motives for trying to help your kids succeed. Ask yourself: “Do I want my child to be Number One? or do I want my child to be the best he or she can be?” Don’t focus on what you want your child to do. Instead, consider who you want your child to become. Realize that character qualities like perseverance, honesty, and responsibility are much more important than academic knowledge or skills from extra-curricular activities. Ask God to help you inspire your kids out of a heart of love instead of pushing them out of a heart of selfish ambition. Help your children uncover their strengths and weaknesses by giving them plenty of opportunities to try out different activities, then looking for patterns to emerge. Ask: “What kinds of things is each child interested in?” “In what areas does each excel?” and “What things give each child joy?” Expose them to nature, good literature, museums, art, history, and other pursuits that can expand their horizons. Don’t push your kids to be perfect, realizing that they never can be. Instead, simply encourage them to do the best they can. Accept your children for who they are, and don’t compare them with each other or classmates. Give your kids enough downtime for unstructured play on a regular basis, since they need that time to develop their creativity. Encourage them to build a close relationship with God through frequent prayer.
Be a coach, not a cheerleader. Instead of offering your kids false praise and applauding mediocrity in their lives, offer them genuine praise that’s merited and expect excellence from them. Don’t neglect to give them the instruction they need. Motivate them through encouragement, rather than bribery or some other external means. Strive to inspire them by being a good role model in their lives. Don’t make excuses for your kids; let them know you believe they can do better when they fail to do their best. Dream big with your children and encourage them to hold onto hope for those dreams to come true.
Set boundaries without building walls. Establish boundaries that help your children, but don’t create walls between you and them. Work with your spouse to present a united front to your kids. Choose some key issues that won’t be open for discussion, and stick to your word on them, no matter what. stay emotionally connected to your kids, making sure they know you love them for who they are rather than what they do. Don’t give into the myth that small amounts of “quality time” will lead to a close relationship; know that you must have large quantities of time into your relationship with your kids if you want to be close to them. Make rules appropriate to your children’s ages.
Listen well. Give your kids the invaluable gift of listening carefully to what they say. Whenever they share their thoughts and feelings with you, pay close attention and seek to genuinely understand them. Break free of distractions, make eye contact, and ask for clarification when you need it. Know that if you listen to your kids, they’ll be inspired to listen to you and grow to become respectful people.
Raising kids in today’s culture....we can’t do it on our own....we need each other and we need God!
Pam Duarte, Headmaster