This last week was especially busy around our home with some extra projects at work and at home on top of our regular schedule. My kids spent many long hours with me at work, and also put in some extra effort at home. They did great! I’m really proud of them.
However, I didn’t do quite as well. There is one reason I say this—I spent more time instructing and correcting than I did encouraging. With so much to do I was constantly moving from one task to the next, thinking about what was left that needed to be accomplished. It left me distracted and not fully engaged in what I was doing. As a result, I was more focused on the what than the who.
Don’t misunderstand, it was a good week. It wasn’t that I was losing my temper or that there was conflict in our home. (At least, not more than the usual small conflicts that erupt with six children.) Also, I do understand that much of my role as a parent is instructing and correcting. But, did you know that there are different ways to do that?
The way that has proven most fruitful—almost counter intuitively—is by “calling out the gold” in my children. This way is a lot more fun, but it takes more intentionality and patience. Let me give you some examples of what I mean:
When your child is struggling with something, say being bossy, instead of simply telling them not to be so bossy and correcting their behavior, you call out the good. “I can see that you are quite a leader. You were born that way. That is really, really good. We are so blessed to have a leader like you in our family.”
Then you begin to shape the value behind the gold. For example: “There are many different ways that people lead. Some lead by force. Why do you think they do that? When might that be necessary? How do you think the people they lead feel about them? How do others lead? What is good about the way they lead? How did Jesus lead? How does He lead us? “ And so on.
The idea is that you are correcting behavior, but teaching them a value system to sustain the correct behavior. You are seeing the potential within them and making sure they know that you see it, too. This is much more effective (and less painful for your relationship) than simply brining correction.
I was thinking about all of this as I was driving into church on Saturday night. I was repenting and praying for grace to be released to both me and my children—especially my two oldest who had received the most of my correction.
Later that night, the Lord answered my prayers in a miraculous way! We had a special guest speaker on Saturday night. At the end, as she was doing ministry, she prayed over both of my oldest children. And, she addressed (in a positive way!) a few of the very things I had been correcting. For example, she told one child how good he/she was with children. That week I had been correcting harshness with that one in regards to how they speak to their younger sisters. Do you know what the result has been? A joy and gentleness in dealing with their younger sisters. It has been amazing the change. I’ve been able to continue to speak those encouraging words over them and the fruit has been quite remarkable.
Not only has it called out the “gold” in my children, but it has refocused my eyes. I have found much delight as I have looked at my family and recognized their greatness. The unique things about each one of them. The beautiful way that the Lord hand-crafted each one. It has brought me so much joy to think that these precious ones are mine—to love and encourage and help blossom. Wow! I am blessed, indeed!
The very thing I had recognized on my drive that night happened. How amazing is that? It has restored a higher level of life and joy—and better behavior—to our home. On top of that, it was such a gift from the Lord that instead of simply correcting me and bringing shame or condemnation to me, He released grace. He answered my prayer and brought just what was needed at just the right moment. He is such a good Father! He showed me, by His own example, how a loving parent behaves. I’m so thankful when He looks at me He sees the good and calls me higher. My home is thankful, too.
What about you? Are you seeing the gold around you? (Sometimes it can be a little hidden, so you have to train your eyes to see it.) If you haven’t been doing this, I encourage you to try it. You may be surprised by the joy and peace—and behavior—that results.