One of the things that we teach our children right from when they are little is that we treat other people as if they are special. God made other people, God loves them and we need to see them as special. This affects the way that they relate to the people around them, it is the beginning of putting other people first (a godly principle to live by).
As mums we often get so focused on teaching our kids to be other-focused we forget that we are one of the ‘others’ in our children’s lives.
Two areas of other focus that we train our kids in are – manners and serving. Do our children show us good manners and do they serve us? We need to see opportunities to encourage our children in these things, and point those opportunities out to our children. We need to be aware of the idea that we are special too – otherwise we won’t expect our children to live that way.
In expecting it, I don’t mean we demand it but we can use situations where we are the ‘other’ person to train our children to see opportunities to serve and be respectful. We may find it uncomfortable to say “hey, guys treat me as special” but we can train their actions and help them create habits of serving mum.
- When we come home from town/shopping our children can greet us, they can offer to help unload the car. We can train them towards this – not by saying “I’m special – come and do this” but by showing them the opportunity, making it a part of normal life.
- When they come home from an outing they can be taught to greet you and catch up with you instead of just dumping their stuff and moving onto the things that they want to do
- When you are tired, they can try and do something for you. Teach them to make a cup of tea, to respect your need for a nap, or the times you take to read a book or talk on the telephone.
The other way we can encourage our children in seeing us as ‘precious’ is to praise them for their heart towards us. Instead of just saying “thanks for the cup of tea” we can say, “Thanks for the cuppa, it made me feel special”, “Thanks for noticing I needed a hot pack, that made me feel special”. When we praise them like this, they start to see that they can do something for you because you are special to them.