To teach your children well it’s about more than correction
A few days back Mindi and I had a conversation about an interaction I had with our son Caleb while we were eating dinner. After 15 minutes of muddling through our differing perceptions of what had happened, I discovered that while trying to teach Caleb something, I didn’t truly instruct him at all. Here’s the scenario… (time warp back to the dinner table)
To teach your children well, let God teach you
The LORD used my conversation with Mindi to help me realize that in my own head, I was wanting Caleb to learn something about consideration, but I never communicated a word of that to him.
For all I know, he could have been thinking,
“Man, Dad is sure stressed about a bowl of rice.”
“Dad is always so short and bossy. I feel like he’s always irritated with me.”
That leads me to the most important thing I realized…
When no explanation is given for a stern, short, or intense remark, the person hearing it will take it negatively 99.9% of the time.
When it comes to kids, it’s probably 100%.
And because I’m “Dad,” it makes me less approachable in their minds, because I’m unreasonable.
Some lessons learned
- If I felt Caleb needed to learn something, it needed to be explained.
- More communication would have been very helpful (see the next heading).
- There was no need to be tense or short. He wasn’t intentionally ignoring me.
- I have GOT to be more careful with my tone. The last thing I want is for my kids to feel I’m unapproachable.
The follow-up conversation
At Mindi’s suggestion (she’s always been a great help to me in this way) I went to talk with Caleb about the situation. He remembered it. I told him that I was feeling concerned at the time that he assess the situation and do what seemed most considerate. I didn’t expect the response I got. Here’s what he said…
I learned a couple of things in that conversation too:
- His reasoning about the situation was just as good as mine.
- He was assuming maturity in me, while I was not assuming the best about him.
- It could be that I was the one being inconsiderate.
I want to make sure that I’m opening up my child’s heart instead of locking it down. That’s what good communication, and good instruction does. That is how you can teach your children well!