Now that the kids are back in school full time, I get a moment to reflect, and I realized something about my kids this summer:
THEY ARE CAPABLE
Our list of Summer Activities has included a mixture of fun day trips like going to the beach, family vacations like going to Boston, and big jobs like ripping up carpet.
Because we did the fun stuff as a family together, my family totally bonded over doing the work together as well. My kids were excited and had fun moving furniture out of two rooms. They helped push and pull. They also helped take staples and nails out of the floor after I took the carpet out.
My children are 4, 7 and 12. I know some may think that pulling out staples and tackling the strip of exposed nails around the edges of the wall is dangerous and not something they should be doing.
Children will rise to the level you set.
It takes some training and patience (patience is a struggle for me), but kids are amazing. When my father was my middle son’s age, he was outside cleaning the chicken coop, fetching eggs and chasing off weasels. When his sister was 7, she was able to make multiple loaves of bread and a chocolate cake from scratch by herself. Every day.
We used to need children for the survival of the family. That is not the case anymore. Children are consumers more than participators, or contributors. Truly, their self worth is affected by this. They aren’t needed. I think they feel that.
By incorporating big projects and giving your kids something beyond their ability, but not beyond their capability, they will surprise you with their eagerness and enthusiasm.
My 7-year-old took up the nail strips in his entire bedroom. I did not touch one of them. My 4-year-old used the special tool for getting the staples out and was content as can be working on each one, one at a time. I never could have gotten the flooring done without the help of my children. They were needed and they felt that! This is what training up a child is all about and it is so exciting!
The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it (ESV).”
Giving children the opportunity to succeed (and fail sometimes) helps train them in the direction they should go.
Training up a child is different than training down a child. Training down a child is easier. It takes less mental space.
Kevin Leman explains in his talks and in his books about a mom who tells her children before she enters the store something like, “Ok, no whining, do not ask me for anything, we are going in for chicken and leaving, do you hear me?” That is training down a child. It is expecting them to act in a manner beneath their capabilities.
But training up a child is expecting them to act in a manner equal to their capability. It may be above their ability at first, but not above their capability.
That is the sweet spot.But training up a child is expecting them to act in a manner equal to their capability. It may… tell a friend
Living life stretching, and bettering yourself, knowing that even if you fail, you’ve still learned something of value has a lasting positive effect on our children.
They are more capable than we give them credit for. We need to push back our own fears and let them try.
DISCUSSION: What did you learn this summer with your children?
SUGGESTED: Non-Committal Girl’s Guide to Teaching Your Kids How to Study the Bible. Your kids can learn to study Scriptures without the help of cutesy, “dumbed-down” devotionals. Remember: it might be above their current ability, but not above their capability. Try it! Full disclosure: the course itself is only $24, but if you scroll down and look at the “Course Curriculum,” you’ll find some freebies.
You’re welcome! <3