Gary Smally tells the story about how bad he was in math, in fact he had to repeat geometry and found himself in a class where the teacher expected him to fail. The teacher actually seated the class according to grades. One morning Gary came to class and there was a substitute teacher and later the class was told the regular teacher had been reassigned.
Something the substitute teacher said changed Gary’s life. The teacher provided a clear picture of active commitment. Standing before the class that morning, the new teacher told them, “if anyone fails this class, then I have failed.” The teacher made a commitment that morning to do what ever it took to see that everyone passed and he did. He stayed after school to tutor students and even came in for special sessions on weekends; he was a dedicated teacher and wanted to see his students thrive.
In school life, children desperately need parents who will make that same type of active commitment to them. In areas they are weak they need to be encouraged and built up. If they really struggle perhaps a tutor would be of help. They need to be hugged and verbally praised for their strengths.
When I think of active commitment, I think of how important it is to commit our children or grand children to the Lord, children need the certainty and security that comes from our committing them and their blessing to the Lord. Pray with your children and let them hear you commit them to Jesus.
The second step is committing us to our children or grand children through time, energy and resources.
I feel discipline is another important way of actively committing ourselves to a child’s best interest. As a grandparent I don’t want to discipline I feel it is up to the parents but I do feel it is an important step in letting children know that they are loved, safe and secure.
John Trent tells about his mom and how her bookcase was full of books that an older gray hairdo grandma usually would not have on her shelf. Theology books, Heavy Equipment Digest and medical books on cancer and genetics. You see these are the things her sons were interested in and she wanted to be able to talk to them about what they were doing in their life.
Here are a few hints on how to become a student of your children.
Be persistent in communicating with them. Set up times with them when meaningful communication can develop. I remember loving to pick my children up from school, I would learn so much at that time of day. I just pretended I was an extension of the steering wheel and listened to all the talk. Take them out to eat, oh my they love to talk and eat.
Share activities with your children. There is nothing like a good camping trip to open the line of communication.
Take initiative in asking questions. Listen to them with your full attention. I read a book called FISH and the book told about being present when you are communicating. Especially with children it is easy to let your mind think about other things. Have you ever carried on an entire conversation with your child or your spouse while watching television?
Most of us have experienced walking into a room and having someone’s eyes light up when they see you. Do your eyes light up when your children or spouse come into a room to talk? Give them your full attention.
It is not easy to be a full-time parent, it takes work and energy and it takes forgetting about self. The effort is worthwhile, years later you will never regret the time and energy you spent on your children. The joy of seeing your children’s life bloom and grow because you are committed to them is a blessing in itself.