At Spring Hill Academy Preschool we are committed to the proposition that training young children involves “laying foundations in life and learning because childhood is not a dress rehearsal.” What we mean is that we ought to have a dual focus in training young children because we only get one opportunity to do it. Developing good habits of mind and life must be the focus of our training and it must start early and self-consciously. Giving children the habits of thinking and good character does not happen by accident. Like having a productive garden, it takes planning, hard work, sustained effort, and the blessing of God.
Michael Hyatt has astutely observed, “(t)he foundation of effective leadership is character. Nothing else has more impact. Nothing else has greater reach. And nothing else can make up for its lack—not education, experience, talent, or contacts….Our choices become our actions. Our actions become our habits. Our habits become our character.”
Parents will not lead their children to develop habits of character that are any better than the parents’ own character. A parent who has little self-control will be unable to equip their child with that vital character trait. Parents who demand of their child what they do not show in their own lives are hypocrites. We have all been guilty of that kind of hypocrisy.
I have yet to meet a parent who encourages or approves of their young child’s temper tantrums. We rebuke them, spank them, or often give into them, but no parent I know approves of that demonstrable lack of self-control. Yet the very things we disapprove of in our children we often model for them and excuse in ourselves.
Let me ask you, what traits would you like to see in the life and thinking of your child? Habits such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control? Which of these are you self-consciously pursuing in your own life? Which of these are lacking? What are you doing about it?
If there is a “silver bullet” in parenting, it is you, mom and you dad. You are, humanly speaking, “the key” to training your child. Your habits of mind and life are the greatest benefit or obstacle to your child.
My pastor has an aphorism that has been a convicting and encouraging reminder to me, “God draws straight lines with crooked sticks.” It is convicting because I am reminded of my faultiness, imperfection, and sin. It is encouraging because in spite of these things God will use me, ME!, as an instrument of grace in the lives of others. He will use you too!
If the moon reflects the light of the sun, (and it does), what reflection of you is your child?
Because they are.