a list of 100 things, or so

Friday, February 17, 2012

100 ways to love a child...

1.   Ask.  Ask them how they know that you love them.  They will likely give clues as to their own personal ways of interpreting love.  Quality time, affirming words, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch according to Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Ross Campbell {LOVE LANGUAGES} are generally the ways in which every human feels loved.
2.   Listen.  When they have a story about the day or want to ask you more questions get on their eye level and patiently allow them to talk.  This says "you are important" to a child. Join them in their world.
3.   Read with them.  No matter the age, it is good to read with a child.  Create your own corner with books, comfortable pillows, good lighting, and maybe even a cup of cocoa.
4.   Say "I'm sorry.  Will you forgive me" when you have wronged your child.  Children do not need perfect parents. {impossible} They need parents to be role models.  People make mistakes. Covering it promotes a standard of unattainable perfection. Showing a child how to take responsibility when they fail is invaluable.
5.   Let the child give you a report card.  "How would you grade me as a mom"?  "What do I do/say that you like"?  "What do I do/say that you do not like"?  Their answers are insightful. 
6.   Help them.  Occasionally help them clean their room, sit with them during homework, or accompany them while they do their chores.  Give them praise along the way for a job well done.
7.  Catch them making good choices.  It's so easy to fall into the 'Parent Police' trap.  You know, the bent that parents have  towards correction, correction, correction. Look for the 'good and right' and verbalize it.
8.  Choose words carefully.  They will become your child's destiny.  If you have failed in this, own it and ask for forgiveness.  Speak words of blessing and destiny.  Words are powerful tools. Use them wisely.
9.   Pray over your child daily.  Stormie Omartian's book "The Power of  a Praying Parent" is a wonderful resource.  She has been one of my very favorite mentors through the world of books.  If you want the best for your child, I cannot say enough about the power of prayer over the destiny of a child.
10.   Establish routine.  Morning routines, afterschool responsibilities, bedtime routines all give the child track to run on and some children NEED to know what to expect throughout the day.  Hygeine practices, homework schedules, bedtime routines with baths, brushing teeth, reading and prayers all bring security.
11.   Create an environment of security.  Show appropriate affection to your spouse in front of your children.  If you want to raise a secure child,  nurture your marriage by showing love and respect to one another.  Boys want to marry a girl just like momma and girls often fall in love with a guy alot like daddy.  So love one another well.  'Marriage On the Rock' by Jimmy Evans and 'Love and Respect' by Eggers.
12.   Play baseball with your child.
13.   Play legos.
14.   Dance with your daughter.
15.   Make birthdays a big deal!  Celebrate the gift of their life.   Thoughtfulness doesn't cost $.
16.   Play hotwheels on the floor.
17.   Use that Easy Bake oven that your daughter got for Christmas 3 years ago...
18.   Fly a kite together.
19.   Tell your child "10 things I love about you..."
20.   Go on a bike ride.
21.   Go on a drive and stop for a Coke or an ice cream cone on the way home.
22.   Attend your child's sporting events, school plays, special events together.  No excuses.
23.   Go on a long walk.  Stroller, bikes, scooters, skates and household pets all allowed.
24.   Write a note "I am so proud of you for _______________" and place it in their backpack. 
25.   Let them have their friends over often. You'll get to know their friends and they will feel esteemed.
26.   Plan surprises for your child.  A Birthday party, a sleepover, a trip to the zoo or museum.
27.   Discipline your child.  Sometimes nature brings the best consequences like when you say at the pool "Don't Run" and then a child slips and falls, breaking their arm.  But children need fences.  And a loving parent puts up boundaries because they love their child.  'Love and Logic' is a great book by Rosemund that explains this concept well.  Loving and firm discipline is another way to promote security in a child.
28.   Discover with your child their talents, interests and individual strengths.  My husband and I have a friend who loved to play with his little green plastic army guys and position them in battle when he was 5.  He is now a grown man working for a military intelligence group and another friend who lined her dolls and teddybears in rows like a classroom and read to them and taught the things all day long.  She now is a phsycologist and oversees educational programs at a college, teaches and councils.  Watch your child for clues as to the way they are 'hardwired'.  And some things will be uncovered overtime.  "Babies... what a wonderful way to start people."
29.   Involve them in your world.  So, you might be thinking "This all sounds great but I'm so busy"!  Try to take a little extra time and patience and involve your child in your own 'to do' list.  Give them something to look for at the store, let them hand over the cash when paying a bill, or give them an age appropriate cooking job to do while you boil the water for the pasta.  This will require a little patience but will speak value.
30.   Listen to good music together.  Teach them what's good to listen to.  Music is powerful and can, like words, build up or pull down.  "Oh be careful little ears what you hear"...
31.   Hug.  Hug hello and hug good-bye.  "But I don't hug".  Move past that and do it anyway.  Humans were designed with a need for touch.  Babies, children, adults and the aged all need touch.
32.   Give a good back scratch.
33.  Dad, wrestle your son.  When little boys at the age of 5, then again at 11-12, pull away from the 'snuggling up with a book and hand holding type affections,' of their early childhood days they do still need physical touch. {Just don't break any furniture and let him win now and then!} Soon, he'll be bigger than you.
34.  Date your children once a week or once a month.  Just to set aside time to look into their eyes and ask "How are you doing? What's going well in your life right now?  What's difficult for you?"  Listen and ask them what can I do to help?  Another opportunity to step into their world and show care.
35.   No matter how busy your life, purpose to connect with your child daily by asking "what was good about your day?  Has anything been 'not so good' today?"  Staying connected and showing interest is vital to demonstrating value to your child.  Emotional abandonment is the most common epidemic facing children and young adults today.  It is curable and it is preventable.  Mom, Dad, Grandparent, or caregiver you have what it takes.  Just take a few moments.  It's gigantic to a child.
36.   When your child 'falls down and scrapes their knee' pick them up, wash the cut and lovingly cover it with a band-aid.  Sometimes we parents go to the extreme of "Toughen up!  Rub some dirt on it and you'll be fine!" as though we are trying to prevent our children from being too soft emotionally. This is not the military... Show concern, evaluate the damage and take care of it if need be.   You'll show them what care and compassion look like, making it all the easier for them to have those qualities as an adult.
37.   Demonstrate healthy emotions.  So many of us parents grew up not knowing what to do with emotions.  We were either told to go to our room until we got it straightened out or that we shouldn't feel that way or maybe we simply just shut down.  Anger is healthy.  Sorrow and grief from loss are healthy emotions.  'Emotionally Healthy Spirituality' by Peter Scazerro is a wonderful resource.  'Healing For Damaged Emotions' by David Seamonds is rich in wisdom on this subject, as well.
38.   Demonstrate kindness.  Your child's someday boss and co-workers will appreciate that quality.
39.   Demonstrate service to all mankind with no partiality or prejuduces.
40.   Demonstrate honesty.  If you love your child help them get ahead in life by keeping the rules.
Cheating, speeding, and dishonest scales are always a setback in the long run.  Getting ahead in that form is simply an illusion.  A mirage. 
41.   Demonstrate faithfulness and committment.  Children need to see these qualities to stay hopeful in this crazy world. 
42.   Demonstrate hope in something much bigger than yourself, your life and your world.  Children come with a built-in GPS system to point towards their Creator.  If you have forgotten what that's like, just join up with your child on the journey.  See the world through the eyes of a child, trusting their Daddy, naturally and without fear.  I suggest a word study on the word 'childlike' and 'children' from the Bible.  It is clear that God has alot to say about how precious it is to Him, the faith of a child.
41. to be continued...                                           

   { notice the red stained lips from the gas station Icee}