In case you can’t tell, I love children!
I love writing children’s books. I enjoy making up activities and puzzles for them.
I love featuring their work. (See our Kids’ Corner, which includes stories, recipes, crafts etc. not only for children but BY children. In my own books, I have SO enjoyed using my children’s ideas, photos, artwork, and even writing/plot edits!)
Especially with special needs in our family, I have researched, prayed, and thought many, many hours about how to love children. When childhood grief (over their own disabilities or whatever) enters the picture, stakes get higher.
Even if you do not have children yourself, many of you probably have neighbor children, children at church, or children in other places you work or volunteer that could use your love. These same principles apply.
So, here is some of what I have learned. 12 ways to love children are:
- Listen to them.
- Believe them. (Pray for wisdom if you think they are lying.)
- Respect them as human beings loved by the Lord.
- Carefully consider their opinions.
- Use their ideas.
- Put yourself in their shoes. (This is a big one! Sometimes we expect more out of our kids than ourselves—that’s called hypocrisy.)
- Learn about them—their likes, dislikes, etc.
- Meet them on their level. (Do not expect them to improve overnight. Adults don’t.)
- Do them the honor of disciplining them with wisdom and compassion.
- Watch them and respond accordingly. (For instance, if you are explaining something they did wrong, if they are crossing their arms and looking angry, your response should be different than if they are hanging their head and looking ashamed. Sometimes we get into talking lecturing and don’t notice that they are already repentant!)
- Give them your time and attention.
- Apologize to them when you mess up.
I can’t tell you exactly what I learned from where, but I must credit the people who have taught me much:
Dr. James Dobson
Hearing his voice takes me back to the days when our oldest was 2! Find Dr. Dobson’s website and fantastic books here: http://drjamesdobson.org/
One of my favorite books of his is The Disconnected Generation. Phenomenal.
Find his wonderful website here: http://www.josh.org/
Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, is full of wisdom. Also, find Love Languages for Children here: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/resources/books/
God, through prayer and crying out to Him
One more thing—I must also finish with grace. God’s grace. His grace that helps when we mess up, make mistakes, act selfishly, etc. And if you try #12, you will find that children are often very forgiving, too.
Christa Upton Black Hills Picture Books PO Box 293 Custer, SD 57730