Do you ever feel like praying as a family is just “going through the motions”?
As parents, and as Christians, many of us place great value on prayer. But sometimes figuring out how to grow a culture of prayer can be difficult — especially if our personal prayer life is consistently a challenge. If we do not value prayer it is unlikely that our children will. God wants us to pray. God calls us to pray. Are we prepared to PRAY BIG as a family?
Our faces. They say a lot to our kids. Before the first words roll off our tongue, we’ve already begun communicating.
Studies show that between 60% – 90% of all communication is nonverbal, with 55% related to the face alone.*
Take a common scenario like your child leaving a trail of food, wrappers, or toys. What might go through your mind at a time like that? “I’ve talked to him about this for weeks, numerous times a day, and nothing has changed! This place is constantly a mess!”
Will my kids choose good friends? Will they do well academically? Will they make wise choices when I’m not around to guide them? It’s normal to consider questions like these. However, if the answer is “no” to any of those reflective questions, anxiety can begin to rise and often a parent’s effort to control their child rises right along with it. It’s the brain’s natural coping response – when feeling internally out of control, we try to take charge of the situation to feel less anxious. This kind of reaction can become problematic, because we are not wise or helpful parents when we’re anxious and controlling. (Imagine how it would feel to have a boss at work engaging with a dip in your performance by anxiously reading your emails and checking every report!)
The Anxiety and Control Cycle
Anxiety and Control are partners in crime. They rob us of joy, contentment and peace. They rob our kids of encouragement and independence. In my parenting, and as I’ve coached parents over the years, I’ve noticed the spiraling impact of anxiety and control:
The more anxious I am about my child, the more likely I am to project a negative future for them, and the more likely they are to begin living out that projection. This makes it easy it is for me to rationalize doing things for them that they ought to be responsible for themselves, which builds their resentment and resistance towards me, which feeds my anxiety… and the beat goes on.
Parents can get in ruts. That’s true for me and I’m pretty sure it is for you, too.
One rut that is familiar to many is the hurried race out the door because “we’re going to be late!!” Or how about the chaos of bedtime and the barking of orders that can consistently ensue? In our house lately it’s the questioning of completed homework and interrogating of my kids’ screens that is especially exasperating to all involved.
If we were to video ourselves at these times and watch it through the eyes of our kids, what would we see?
Last week I wrote about how my junior high daughter creatively and proactively asked for an iPod by preparing a well-thought-out list of answers to concerns she thought I might have. Here’s the rest of the story!
My daughter’s proactive list was a breath of fresh air and showed me a growing capacity in her to think more broadly about the impact of purchasing the iPod. Her pleasant, non-demanding tone was another sign of her maturity and thoughtful processing of the situation.
Some parents may believe that asking for the iPod in such an impressive manner should gain her access to it immediately. She deserves it, right? Others may view it as a form of my daughter manipulating me to get what she really wanted and saying yes will only mean more of this new “tactic”.
But here’s what happened in our situation:
My daughter approached me with a typical question — one I’ve heard one hundred seventy-three times (but who’s counting). “Dad, can I have an iPod Touch?”
But this time, her approach was different.
She made a good pitch — she had an unbelievable opportunity to obtain a friend’s iPod for the extremely reasonable price of $20. Having experienced this conversation with me one hundred and seventy-three times, she came with a written document that detailed her plan to address many of the questions or concerns she thought I would have. I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed!
The document was entitled, “If I got an iPod…” and went like this:
As parents, and as Christians, many of us place great value on teaching our children to value prayer. But sometimes figuring out how to grow a culture of prayer can be difficult — especially if maintaining a strong prayer life is a challenge for us.
Here are six ideas we’ve used in our family to help move toward a culture of prayer as a family.
David Mulder | Flickr
As we’ve all come to realize at certain points in our life, when we serve, the transformation often comes in our own hearts and not necessarily just in the hearts of those we’ve chosen to serve.
This point is illustrated by a powerful story I recently heard from a former coaching client.
One former NFL player, James Harrison, sent out an Instagram message regarding his two sons receiving “participation trophies” even though they didn’t win anything.
Harrison, the youngest of 14 kids and a two-time Super Bowl winner himself, struck a chord with many who believe that trophies should be given to those who “earned” them and not simply to those who “tried their best”.
In my role as a parenting speaker I do a lot of role plays with people in the audience. Though I had seen a lot of yelling, whining, and laughter from these role plays, I had never seen tears — but recently that changed.