Although the Valentine’s candies have been in the stores for several weeks now, February is a great time to pick up some conversation hearts and thing about how they might start a conversation with our children. In days of increased technology use and reliance, it often seems that when we look over at our kids, they have their noses in their phones. Conversely, when they look at us, they probably see the same thing. Regardless of who has a higher screen time, our children need to know that they can and should be having some deep conversations with us. If we reach into our grab bag of conversation hearts for 2022, we might need sayings such as:
BE KIND!: One thing I’ve noticed over the last couple of years is that tempers seem to be a whole lot shorter; attitudes toward those that have differing viewpoints seem to be a whole lot more negative; and in general, people are just tired. It’s easy to point the finger at others, but when it comes right down to it, we have an opportunity as Christ’s followers to show the world how Jesus transforms us. In youth group a few weeks ago, we talked about how we are new creations in Christ and one of the ways we can express that “newness” is by being kind to one another. As we model kindness in our speech towards others, in our behavior towards others, and in our attitudes towards others, we show our kids how God enables us to live an abundant life. You get to be the first words of kindness that your kids hear and see each day. You probably also get to be the last. Your kindness matters and is a good gift that you share with your kids—who, in turn, share it with the world.
U CAN DO IT: As the principal, I so often experience situations where parents struggle to let their kids walk through difficult experiences. As a parent, I understand the desire to rush in and help my kids when they are struggling. I also end up regaling them with stories about how, “when I was your age, I packed my own lunch, walked to school uphill in the snow (it was Montana after all), and did chores before my parents got home after school…” They are often unimpressed. Although, what all those childhood experiences mean for me today is that I am a self-sufficient, well-adjusted adult that has confidence in my ability to walk through difficult tasks and set-backs. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to be there for our kids. It’s great to be their biggest cheerleaders. They should know that there is always a safety-net for the big stuff. It’s also great for them to learn that we trust them to navigate challenges and setbacks. Resist the urge to rush in a clear the path for your kids. They won’t appreciate it in the moment, but they will most definitely recognize the importance as they mature. Not only will you be giving them an “I Can Do It” attitude, you’ll be giving them great stories to bore their kids when they complain about how unfair life is!
JESUS LOVES U!: As we celebrate Black History Month, we are reminded about the powerful opportunity we have as Christ’s dearly loved children to ensure that our children know the important contributions people of color and the impact these contributions have had on our world. We have a powerful opportunity as Christian parents to have deep conversations with our children about racism and the sting of pain it brings to so many. We can share our own failings as people and encourage continued growth in our children as they see the world with Christ-like wonder and apply His love and righteous perspective to situations that may require them to stand up and use their voices to put an end to racist attitudes and behaviors. Jesus loves you does not have qualifications. He loves YOU! His deep desire is that everyone that hears these words would know they are for them. Conversations such as these start in our homes and are made real for others as we share them not only with our words, but with our actions. May God guide and bless you as you undertake these important conversations.
No matter what the situation, God’s heart for conversation with His children is overflowing! Even when we’re confronted with angry people and difficult situations, we know that God is listening to the prayers of His people. Continue to pray for Christian parents and the impact they can and do have on their homes, communities, and the world. Join the conversation today!
Corey Brandenburger, Principal