Early in my motherhood adventure I realized I could solve my kid’s problems for them. Not every problem. But for the most part when they had an issue I could step in and be the solution.
I could mentor and equip my kids to solve their issues; which is much more time consuming, brain draining, and sometimes quite frustrating.
But for me, the most important lesson I want to teach my kids is how to think.
It’s that whole “give a man a fish” thing-
Give him a fish and he’ll eat for a day… or teach him to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.
I don’t want to train my kids to only turn to me for solutions. I want to help them think in Biblically and emotionally healthy ways, so they can learn the fine art of becoming a solution finder. I want to help them learn to process life choices in grounded, mature ways.
If I only tell my kids what they can and can’t do, I’m establishing rules for them to follow. This is a part of parenting for sure- but it can’t be the whole part.
If I teach them how to think, I’m establishing healthy processing patterns that will serve them when they’re no longer under my immediate watch.
For example, I don’t want my kids to text and drive. I’ve taught them this rule. But to help them learn to process the dangers of driving while distracted, I decided to have a family discussion.
Last week, I asked each of the kids to come to a scheduled family dinner equipped to present a brief report on the dangers of texting and driving. And just as a little incentive, each person that brought their report would get their name put in a hat for a cash prize drawing.
(I’m all about incentives. And it doesn’t take much to motivate cash-poor teens.)
As the kids presented their reports, I saw the light bulbs coming on in their thinking processes. They weren’t just learning a rule; they were discovering how to think about this dangerous habit. They were passionate about it. And the best part? They all owned the solution of committing to not text and drive.
They owned it. Not because I preached a rule at them. But rather, because I helped them learn how to think through this danger for themselves.
The Bible instructs us to teach our kids the truths of God by talking and processing with them all throughout the day. Obviously, texting and driving isn’t a Biblical truth but how powerful it is to apply a Biblical mindset to every issue we face.
So be it a Scriptural truth, or processing life stuff in general, I think the secret is tucked within the beautiful words of Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NIV):
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many…”
And speaking of my kids, I’m excited to announce the release of my newest book, What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God, co-written with my daughter, Hope. Today, I’m giving away 3 copies! To be entered to win, leave a comment below telling me who you would give this book to and why.