It is very easy for us to focus too much on academics and forget about some even more important aspects of training our children.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to hear a lecture given by Diana Waring, author of the History Revealed curriculum as well as several helpful books for parents. Diana’s talk was very convicting for me! She had a fresh perspective on homeschooling that could transform our relationships with our children if we heed her advice.
It is very easy for us to focus too much on academics and forget about some even more important aspects of training our children. Diane said that for our homeschools to be successful, they must be built on a strong foundation which is based on the love we have for our children. We need to remember that love throughout the day and express it to our children.
Here are 5 ways to express love to your children:
Smile at your child. That sounds very basic; however, if we pay attention to our facial expressions, we might be surprised at what we see. It’s easy to become so serious that our kids think we are perpetually scowling at them. Be sure your face is giving your child the right message.
2 – Be Kind
There is never an excuse for saying unkind things to our children. No matter how upset we might feel, we need to maintain self-control.
3 – Be Encouraging
We need to stop being so uptight about what our kids aren’t learning. Every child is different. Some will struggle in areas in which we excel. When we struggle, it feels good to have someone come alongside us and help us to have a breakthrough. We need to do that for our children.
4 – Delight in Your Kids
Do our children see our eyes twinkle when they walk into the room – or do we subtly express irritation at the interruption? Do we show them how in love we are with them? We need to enjoy our children! The time we are given with them is fleeting. Don’t waste even a moment of this time by wishing you (or they) were somewhere else.
5 – Be Transparent
We need to let our kids see who we really are. We also need to let our kids be who they really are rather than trying to shape them into some preconceived mold we have in our heads.
Most homeschool parents would agree that teaching our children character is much more important and lasting than is academics.
Our homeschools often don’t reflect this belief, however. We spend countless hours on academics, only to be too distracted throughout the day to impart character into our children. Educating our children is only one of the tasks we undertake as parents. We also need to be sure we are parenting them properly, disciplining them, and being caregivers.
Homeschooling gives us the opportunity to learn together, laugh together, work together, serve one another, and walk humbly. Never forget that there is plenty of stuff that we don’t know as well. When you learn something new together, don’t be afraid to get excited with your children.
It’s natural for us to want to protect our children. Sometimes, in an effort to do what’s best for them, we can have a tendency to place them in boxes to ensure that their world is small enough and simple enough that they will turn out alright without God’s moment-by-moment help. When this happens, our homes can become legalistic, focus too much on external behavior, and tend to want perfectionism from our children. Boxes are behavior-oriented and are made up of man’s rules, man’s judgments, and self-righteousness.
How are we able to get rid of these boxes and live a life which will be more likely to pass on our faith, instill character in our children, and build a strong relationship with our children?
Diana reminds us of the following timeless truths about expressing love to our kids:
- We need to remember that love is messy and doesn’t always follow the rules.
- We need to love our children unconditionally and not just when they perform.
- We need to give our children dignity and respect. If we want it from them, we need to model it by giving it to them first.
- We need to have compassion for our children. Learning can be hard work! We need to stop being drill sergeants and start being loving teachers.
- We need to be humble.
In this way, we can teach our children the academics while also teaching them what it means to be a valuable member of our family. We can train them to have good character while we show them what it feels like to be loved unconditionally. Throw away those boxes! Once we’ve won our child’s heart, the rest will fall into place.
Question: How do you show unconditional love to your children? Do you struggle in this area? Do you have tips to share? Please leave a comment below.