Yesterday Toby (6) was being mean to his sister Trinity (4). As punishment, I told him he would have to be her servant for the rest of the day.
I told Toby that if Trinity needed anything, he would need to respond kindly with the words, “Yes, my princess, I would love to,” and then assist her. I explained to Trinity that if she needed anything at all, she could ask Toby and he would have to assist her.
I gathered that she fully understood what she had just gained when she immediately made her first request. She said, “Toby, would you like to play tea cups with me?”
My wife and I found it hard to hold back our laughter. His brother Timmy did not hold back, though, and started laughing. Toby found it amusing as well and started to laugh also. He looked at Trinity and responded with, “Yes, my princess, I would love to.”
I think Toby actually enjoyed playing with his sister.
I believe we need to teach our kids a couple of things here:
1. Being kind to others is a must.
Too often we allow our kids to get away with being unkind, rude, selfish and mean to their siblings. This should not be acceptable to parents. We need to address every instance of this behavior with loving correction and/or a creative punishment to curb this behavior.
Many times I hear parents say two things:
(1) “Kids will be kids.” Yes, this is true… This means that kids will be messy, careless, playful at the expense of our property, precocious and at times a huge handful. This does not relieve parents of our responsibility to lovingly show them the correct response to these situations.
(2) Parents complain, “If I corrected my kids every time they did something wrong, I would be correcting them all day long.” My response to them is usually, “Duh, that’s the whole concept of being a parent!” We are here to teach our kids how to respond to every situation that might present itself. Yes, it’s tiring. Yes, it’s a lot of work. The dividends that good parenting yields, though, will pay off for the rest of our children’s lives.
2. You must learn how to joyfully serve others.
In order to be a great leader, one must first learn how to serve. I have been self-employed for almost 20 years now. The thing that has most amazed me about other contractors is their unwillingness to serve their clients. I believe that one of the contributing factors to my staying in business all these years has been my willingness to take care of what needs to be done. I have always tried to place my clients’ needs above my own needs or pride.
I want my kids to be known for having these servant qualities as well. One of the marks of a great leader is their willingness to serve others.
Kids are like little computers just waiting to be programmed. Parents are the programmers. What programs are you installing in their lives? If you don't program them, the TV, media and other friends will. Remember: You’re the parent. You’re in charge. It’s a simple fact, but sometimes we forget.
We need to teach more than we correct. If we find ourselves constantly correcting our kids, this may be a sign that we need to teach them more.