Mom to Mom
By Viki Rife
Every child has two questions they start asking early on about life, according to a Christian psychologist who taught a class I once took. The answers to those two questions, he asserts, help determine the direction the child will choose to go and how he or she will handle the struggles and challenges of life.
I have to admit that the concept of a person’s future being determined by just two questions seemed extreme to me. The more I think about it, however, the more I can see how it affects every aspect of a child’s life.
The first question is: Am I loved? Human beings have an innate desire to be loved. Our Creator made us to crave His love and to want to exercise it in our relationships. Parents have the privilege and responsibility of showing their children that they are truly loved, both by their family and by God. Parents show love through words, smiles, hugs, and often by the sacrifices they make on behalf of their child.
The other question, however, counterbalances the first. That second question is: Can I get my own way? Parents have the privilege and responsibility of showing their children that being loved does not mean we can have everything we want. An emotionally healthy child is one who can accept that the world does not revolve around her or him. The understanding that they are not entitled to have their own way all the time helps them come to grips more easily with the fact that God only gives us what is best for us, not necessarily what we want.
As the child forms answers to those two questions, an understanding begins to emerge that helps prepare them for the realities of the Christian life. They can have confidence that not getting their own way does not mean they are unloved. How many people do you know who think God doesn’t love them because He isn’t doing things their way? To help prepare our children for the realities of life, we must help them see that love involves much more than just getting their way and can exist even when they are disappointed in outcomes. A parent who really wants to prepare their child to live a stable life will invest in helping them see what love is and to accept that they don’t have to get everything they want to be happy. Children whose parents teach them this are truly blessed!
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