Ever taken an inventory of your spending for a month to see what you spend on? Many times, we blame a lack on money as a reason we don’t do the things we wish we could. Like making our children a priority. Investing into our children pays off in great ways. Starting with time. Investing time into your children as a base for everything else you do with them. Some of the activities made available are assumed to cost a lot without checking into them and getting facts. As a single mother under very difficult circumstances, I realized that prioritizing things in your life make a great difference on the outcomes. If we let life go as it comes, we can live to wish and never have our wishes come to reality. Making a conscious decision to prioritize will bring many wishes to reality including in your children’s life. We must practice asking the question about everything; “What is more important, my child or ….?”
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21 NIV).
When a child can read, they are advantaged in many ways. Reading is great for our brain and broadens our view point as well as our children’s. It builds their esteem and helps them cope better at school which is good emotionally and mentally. The benefits are more than the cost of doing it. What is a good age to start reading to your child is a question I have been asked several times. Whether it is a parent, a grandparent or other care giver that gets to read this, it is never too early to start reading to a child. For mothers, reading positive and happy materials while pregnant is helpful because the baby in you starts to recognize the voice and can feel the emotions of the mother. Once children are born, they begin to learn the same day. Reading out softly inspiring reading by the baby is beneficial. Even though they are not talking to you, they can hear you. As they start to follow your movement with their eyes, read baby books while pointing to each word you read. Babies have short attention span and will look away once their attention is worn. It is wonderful to read softly without often even when not directly to the baby. But make a point to read directly to them while pointing at the words at least once each day. You will be amazed how quickly your child will learn to read and love to read. As they get older, they will still enjoy reading with you even when they learn how to read on their own. They will want to share the joy of whatever they are reading. Even though it is usually boring for parents and other adult, do it for the child and keep a positive attitude to encourage them. Out of experience, both of my children were reading completely on their own by the time they entered kindergarten and still love to read. It is worth the commitment. If you haven’t started, it is never too late. Find age appropriate books for your children and take even 15 minutes a day to read together. Kids ted to enjoy what they see their parents enjoying. Making reading a priority for their sake even though you are not a reader currently. Your children will thank you and you might actually like reading eventually which is great for your brain and life.
“Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
My mom called me this week because she was in those moments of thinking about her grown children and missing them. She said, “I feel so lonesome and all I have is photos around the house. I look at the photos and really miss you.” I could hear it in her voice. I felt sad! I wished there was something I could do to fly my mom to me immediately. I was reminded in that moment how much I love my mom and how much I miss her. We chat and laughed and also had some tears of joy as mama said many words of blessings on me. In that moment, I thought about my children and how fast they are growing. I felt scared! “Soon I will be in my mother’s position!” I thought. My mother lives many miles away from me but I love her and miss her deeply because she was always close to her children growing her. Every day after work and every weekend was spent together as family. My parents made us their priority and that kept us very close as a family. I heard from my dad countless times the story of how he met my mom and never got tired of hearing it. As an adult, I love my parents deeply in spite of the distance. I make a point to see my parents and siblings as often as God enables me. What I would like to see happen is that my children will miss me when they are grown like I miss my parents and that they will want to see me as much as possible. The conversation with my mom this week left me in deep thought. What can I do with my children now?Children seem to be grown and gone before parents know it. Once they are grown, we can’t undo what we didn’t and can’t do what we didn’t do. The time is now when we can. Let’s make it a priority to spend a lot of time with our children. Let’s us make our children a priority because the 20 years we have them in our house will impact our relationship with them the remaining many years once they are grown and living their lives. “6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
As a parent, you are the greatest influence in your child’s life. The is no one as important as you in your child’s life. Other people make an impact along the way, but nothing close to the one you make. This is a great reason, spending a lot of time with your children is very important. Excellent parenting depends of how much of your time you invest on your children. Not money, gifts, and all the other things we give. First, the more time you spend with your child, the more you get to know your child. Just because they are our children doesn’t automatically mean we know them very well. It takes time to know anyone and it takes time to build a genuine relationship. The better you know your child, the more accurate you are advocating for them in times of need, the more you can strength their strengths and help them overcome or learn to manage their weaknesses, the more you can help boost their self-esteem, the more their sense of security is increased etc.
We live in a society that says if you are not on the run you are boring or lazy or wasting time. However, suicide has been on the rise, low self-image on the rise, lack of fulfillment, depression and other mental disorders including in children. How can it be that we run so much that we don’t have time for the most important aspects of our lives. Our spouse, our children, family, time for ourselves and worst of all, no time for God! How can we be surprised at the results we are getting in our society?
Being busy doesn’t necessary mean being productive. The greatest key to productivity is living a balanced life which includes having time to reflect and rest. The greatest gift we can give to our children and to each other is our time. Investing time on your children will make a big difference in the rest of their life functions starting with how they feel about themselves.
Deuteronomy shows the importance of spending a lot of time with our children. All day long. When you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up!
Deuteronomy 11:19-21New King James Version (NKJV)
19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.
Whether it is raising children or finding full trust and unconditional love, family is the place to find it the most. Family is a blessed unite that is God ordained. Family gives every person stability in life and a warm place to always go back to. It provides focus and a reason to put all efforts into our lives. A family laughs together, cries together, celebrates together, mourns together, sacrifice for each other, and provides a social aspect to life that we need and can always depend on. And family is never too far away no matter the distance! Unfortunately, we have an enemy who knows how important family is for all human operations and life and tries very hard to fight against our families. May our family become our number one priority over all other things. Money, education, fame, positions etc, can’t buy a happy family. A happy family is a result of lots of time spent together, love and care for one another. All the things available to us from our Father for free make a happy family. May we check our priorities because with the love and support of a family, we can do much better in life than alone no matter how much wealth or fame, poverty or pain life brings. Train your children how to treat family because they will need it. Fight for you family if you have to. Celebrate family. Family is extremely important. That is why God himself ordained it to be.
Every parent desire and hope that their relationship with their children will remain strong and last forever. Looking at that little bundle of joy, the dreams of future and then come grandchildren etc. No parent at that moment thinks for one minute that anything can go wrong. However as time goes, many things do change for many people. Relationships are a lot of the work of being intentional including that with your own children. Many parents are left hurt, disappointed and some even bitter as they watch relationship with their children turn opposite of what they hoped. Many children are also left hurt, resentful towards their parents. What happens to the little bundle of joy that we once brought home? Can anything be done to avoid this situations? The answer is yes. There might be few exceptions based on other life experiences, but with intentional work, lasing relationships are attainable.
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
While we must use our phones and gadgets, we need to pay attention to how they affect those we love especially our children while raising them. I was waiting somewhere and observed interaction between a mother and about 4 year old son. He needed his mother’s attention but her full attention was on her phone. This child would try to climb of her lap and she would not look at him but while still staring at her screen, kept pushing him back to the sit next to her. The child would look down, stand on his chair and get his face in front of his mother and she would without looking at him push him back to his sit. Whenever he looked at us I smiled at him and he would smile back playfully and then turn to his mother who pushed him back to his sit. How sad!
Our children need our full attention. How can we wonder why they run off once they hit teenage if we never pay them attention and instead make them feel like they don’t matter to us? If you don’t give them attention, they will seek it wherever they can find it. Be intentional about showing your children they matter. That will make them solid and will set for them high standards for their future.