Helping Kids Honor God and Authority (Aug. 14)
We’re often asked the question “How early can you start using a heart-based approach with kids? Here are some thoughts about one ingredient, the biblical concept of honor.
We believe a heart-based approach to parenting starts at Day 1. During infancy your child is learning about the world around him or her and developing communication skills. Our job as parents is to get to know this new person and help establish strong communication patterns.
Parent and baby are studying each other and learning how to function effectively in this new relationship. We believe the character qualities to focus on are trust and security. Your infant is learning to trust you, learning that the world is a safe place, learning that if he or she cries, someone is there to help - either feed, or comfort, or meet some other need. This interaction is vital to healthy development, and is a way that we, as parents, demonstrate honor.
Every time you hold your baby and gaze into his or her eyes, you are communicating “You are special.” As children grow through infancy into toddlerhood we want to continue to see the world through their eyes. We adore their growing personality and delight in their discoveries each day - that’s honor.
One of the best ways we can honor our young children is to take life slowly, try to stay in the moment and enjoy each little expression, each demonstration of unique personality, and to care for, caress, and delight in this amazing little person that God has blessed us with.
In the toddler stage you’ll need to begin setting limits and adding schedule restrictions. Do your best to do this with gentleness, not harshness. Limits also communicate love, and how they are set and reinforced communicate honor. As toddlers and preschoolers, children generally love to demonstrate honor back to their parents. They thrive on delighting mom or dad. Giving gifts and planning simple surprises for others always bring smiles and giggles with young children. Fun games can foster taking initiative - activities like the honor square or “find 3 things to put away in the playroom” get kids looking for ways to be helpful.
We want honor to characterize how we relate to God; one another inside and outside the family. Setting the tone early with a young child will make the task much easier.
This parenting corner is adapted from Dr. Scott Turansky & Joanne Miller of the National Center for Biblical Parenting