Parenting Tip #6 – Get Down on Their Level

Do you remember the joy of playing with an adult who loved being with you – one who would forget about personal dignity for a little while to act like a kid with you? This is was one of my father’s gifts to his children.

My favorite place to hide was under our dining table. I would squeeze between the chairs in the narrow space and duck under, tucking my toes under the hem of my skirt. As I watched my family’s legs go by, I slowed my breathing and fidgeting, feeling like quite the spy. I even decided to remain hidden until everyone left the area – so I could use the space again and again.

I got the surprise of my life one day when my father’s upside-down head appeared. He grabbed my ankle, growling like a bear, and after my initial fright we chased and laughed together. It didn’t bother me that my special place had been compromised. Dad was in my world!

grandma with kids. free duchessa.stockxchng

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV).

Though this verse talks about Jesus’ humility and obedience taking him to his death on the cross, and my father’s playfulness doesn’t relate much to dying, he did show us that he enjoyed putting aside his grown-up concerns for a while to be fully involved with his children. In fact, we never doubted that he treasured these times as well.

I’m thankful to my dad for showing me our heavenly Father like he did, paving the way for me to relate to God on my own.

And I must add, from my older adult perspective, the play times I’ve enjoyed with my children, foster children, grandchildren (and random children I have the privilege to engage) are still precious treasures to me, though I’m not able to convince them I’m the scary she-bear any longer.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Parenting Tip #5 – Teach God’s Ways

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to help our children avoid making the same mistakes we made? I think there are guides for accomplishing this in the Law given to Moses and in following Jesus’ example.

parent teaching child pavaranda.stockxchng
from pavaranda. stockxchng

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:5-9 ESV).

The scripture says I need to keep these words, of loving God with all I am, in my heart. He says I must teach them diligently to my children. Then he tells me how to do it: Talking about loving him when I’m sitting, walking, lying down, rising; and keeping his words before me always.

This is how Jesus taught his followers.

I mentioned in an earlier post, Parenting Tip #3, that we can copy Jesus’ example in his interactions with his disciples. He was God’s perfect Son, yet he humbled himself and walked, ate, slept, admonished, fed, taught and encouraged them day by day.

“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:11 ESV).

I need to bring my children to Jesus daily, sitting with them, walking with them, engaging them in discussions they’re curious about – and otherwise teaching them in all ways possible of the importance of loving God with all they have. So they can know him and follow him, and grow beyond my human limitations and my mistakes.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Parenting Tip #4 – Watch, Listen and Learn

My fourth parenting tip is simple: Watch and learn. Your little person is one of God’s greatest gifts to you, so put less important things aside to become an expert on your child.

Observe experienced parents

stoneraven. stockxchng
stoneraven. stockxchng

I sat on a curb near a play structure at Emerald Park watching a grandma interact with her granddaughter. It fascinated me to see the child reach behind her to pat her grandmother’s arm, though her gaze was riveted on an approaching dog. It was apparent the girl wanted to be sure she was still safely anchored to the person she trusted.

I took note of their relationship and decided to make developing trust an important part of my parenting plan.

Keeping alert to catch insights from others is one of the ways I learn best. When I see a family with outcomes I appreciate, I watch them, collecting bits of wisdom for myself.

Learn from my childhood

I visited pleasant memories where I felt cherished and appreciated, and not-so-great memories of times I felt adults were unkind or confusing. This led me to search for alternatives, determined to improve on what I’d been given. Here is a psalm I use often in my prayers.

“Show me your ways, O Lord. Teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; on you do I wait all the day” (Psalm 25:4-5 NKJV).

Listen to wisdom

And if I’m floundering, listening to wise people helps.

“Without counsel plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 15:22 NKJV).

Poll several sources and try the advice that seems to fit best. There’s no shame in making mistakes if you’re willing to correct them. That’s how we learn to follow Jesus.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis