Before our kids are even born, we start having dreams for our children. Dads dream of throwing a ball around with them. Moms dream of having them throw their arms around our neck and giving us giant hugs.
But what if we have a son who doesn’t like to play ball or a child who is sulky and needs to be coaxed to hug his mom? Quite often, our children are enough different from us that they have completely different strengths than we ever would have thought. And sometimes our strengths are their weaknesses. Sometimes it’s hard for us to even figure out what’s going on in their heads.
Our dreams for our children are great, however, they shouldn’t interfere with the dreams in our kids’ hearts. Each of our children is a unique gift from God. Sometimes we will have children who are so much like us that they have very similar dreams for themselves as we have for them. But sometimes their dreams don’t resemble ours at all.
When this is the case, we need to remember that our children are made in God’s image and not in our own. Yes, they resemble us in good ways and in bad, however, God has a specific purpose for each of them and He will reveal it to them in His own perfect time. This is true whether they are our Mini Me or our exactly opposite.
Our job as parents is to appreciate our kids for who they are and to help them fully develop into the people God has created them to be rather than attempting to mold them into the children we were hoping to have. But how do we do this? How do we appreciate our children for who they are rather than being disappointed?
6 Ways to Appreciate the Son You’ve Been Given:
1 – Focus on his good traits
It’s easy to notice the negative. Take a few minutes to write down your son’s good qualities. Keep this list handy and continue to add to it as you notice more positive points. Once you have a nice list, share it with your son. Make a habit of pointing out things you appreciate about your son throughout the day. As you develop this habit, you will notice yourself enjoying and appreciating your son more and more.
2 – Look at him as others look at him
What nice things do others say about your son? How does God look at him? If you’re having a hard time coming up with a good list of positive qualities, don’t be afraid to ask other people what they have noticed about your him. If you are extremely introverted and your son is an extrovert, it will be easy for you to see him as loud rather than as having a charismatic personality. Sometimes hearing other people’s point of view will help us to change our own frame of mind during those difficult stages of parenting.
3 – Help him develop his talents and abilities
We aren’t being good stewards of our children if we only attempt to help them get better in areas that WE wish they were good. Find out what interests your son. Talk to him about the skills and abilities he would like to focus on. Resist the urge to think that his interests are less important than your own.
4 – Smile at him
This is a great way to let your son know that you love him and that you enjoy spending time with him. Some of us take life way too seriously and we may be smiling at our kids less than we think. We intentional about having fun with your son and letting him know that you enjoy his company.
5 – Talk to him
The more quality time you spend with your son the better you’ll be able to appreciate his many gifts. Spend time alone with him. Talk to him while riding in the car or while tucking him into bed at night. When you spend time with your son, give him your full attention. Enjoy your son’s unique qualities.
6 – Listen to your tone of voice
Quite often, us moms have a lot on our plates. It’s easy to feel stressed and for this stress to be heard in our voices. Listen to yourself. When you’re talking to your son, does your voice sound like you love and appreciate him? Or do you often sound frustrated by him? Record your voice and play it back for yourself if you have to. Often, the voice that we hear coming out of our mouth isn’t the same voice that our kids hear.
Our job as parents is to support our children and to help them to become the people God has intended for them to be rather than trying to turn them our ideal version of themselves.
We need to talk to ourselves about our kids more than we listen to ourselves!
Rather than thinking about ways they may not measure up in our estimation, it’s important that we appreciate our sons for the unique people God has given us to raise.
Question: Do you do a good job in this area or is this an area in which you struggle? Which point above should you focus on most? Please leave a comment below.