When you Parent, do you see yourself as a Person?
Do you have a value that you want your family to be characterized by? Something that is really important to your parent heart? Something you want your children to live by? We have several key values that we want our family to be characterized by and one of them is to be others centered: that is we, as Letchfords consider the value of the other person in all our comings and goings. (At least that is what we want for our family.)
Phil 2:3 says; Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.
This tells us to put others first. Another passage that has been central in the training of our kids has been the one another verses. Apparently there are 59 of them – different verses telling us how we are to treat one another. I have collated the “One Another” verses into a free Printable for you.
I want my kids to be other’s focused:
When my kids were young and I was studying these verses, I asked myself, “Who are these “other people” in my kid’s life?” I suddenly realised I was one of the ‘other people’! Once I realised that suddenly every interaction I had with my kids was a training opportunity to consider the other person.
To love others: One of the ways we show love to each other is to use good manners. So at home, every time I did something for them, or gave them something they had an opportunity to say thank you. Or every time they wanted something they had an opportunity to say please. Please and thank yous are just the basics of good manners – we practiced many other good manners as I interacted with my kids daily.
Using kind words and gentle voices is a way of showing someone we love them. Our children can learn to show Mum love by choosing loving words – and more importantly loving tone.
To serve others: to help others, to be hospitable. In order to serve someone or be helpful you have to first of all notice a need. As a mum I set up my children to help me – it was a culture we developed. The kids helped me by carrying in the groceries, they helped me by looking after a younger one, they helped me by answering the phone and taking a message. These things were my responsibilities that I asked my kids to help me with.
As with most things – first of all it needs the parent to point out the need. “Hey, Josh I need a hand, can you please bring the groceries in for me. Thank you.” Then after a while, our kids start seeing these opportunities themselves and they choose to be helpful – they offer. “Hey Mum I can bring the groceries in for you.”
To greet others: The Bible says greet each other with a holy kiss. It is a very intentional greeting. It is a greeting where you make contact! Though we didn’t always kiss we did make it a habit of greeting each other each morning – and saying good night at the end of the day. Touching base with each other sets the tone for the rest of the day. As they learnt to recognize other people in their path in the home, they were able to transfer that habit of greeting to other people.
To be concerned for others: Our kids aren’t going to pick up on needs automatically – neither are they going to know how to respond to a need. But they can be taught.
One need I had was that I needed to have an adult visit with my friend. Only problem was, my friend loooved my kids and my kids loooved my friend. So for a while there come time to go home after a visit I hadn’t had any time with her at all – our visit was all kid-centric. I explained to my kids that I needed a visit with my friend – just like they needed and enjoyed playdates with their friends. So we came to an arrangement – 5 minutes talking with AuntyBeeBee – and then go and play so Mummy can visit with her friend. This was one way of teaching my kids to see that Mummy had needs too. Once they start to see Mummy as a person with needs, they start to find ways to look after mummy – and that is very precious. I am so very looked after these days.
To pray for others: When I taught my kids to pray I would start off by brainstorming different things they could pray for. It wasn’t until I started seeing myself as one of the ‘other’ people my kids could pray for that I started to include myself in my prompting.
To honour others: One way we honour each other is by interrupting respectfully. I certainly wanted my kids to interrupt others respectfully. I had the opportunity at home to teach them to interrupt me respectfully.
Isn’t if funny how our kids need something as soon as we are on the phone! Well, I used this to my advantage. I taught them that talking on the phone was me having a conversation and they needed to interrupt in a way that showed me and my friend respect. This then carried over into other conversation situations where they wanted to interrupt.
To forgive others: Not only was it important for me to say sorry to my kids when I was in the wrong, but it was a teaching opportunity to help them understand how to forgive.
You will find each one of these things – to love, serve, help, greet, encourage, pray, honour and forgive – all a part of the one another verses.
There are so many values that I wanted my kids live out – and I am sure you have the same desire. We want our kids to care for the sick, to listen to people, to respect other people’s property, to notice other people’s efforts. Each of these and many other values that I wanted to teach my children could be taught and practiced by recognizing myself as a person who my kids needed to be considerate towards.
So often we let our kids be rude to mum and yet at the same time we teach them they should be respectful to all people. When we start to see ourselves as someone who should be loved, respected, cared for then we can teach our kids to do just that. We interact with our kids so much throughout the day and every interaction is an opportunity to teach how to consider the other person.
Loving others is a core value for the Christian family. Download this list of “One Another” verses and teach your children how to love others.
A Simple Command but so Hard to do: To follow Jesus’ command to love one another I need to see that it is God’s love in me that enables this to happen.
Significant ways your Children can show Respect: Respect is the basic virtue that drives so many choices; both attitudes and actions. Parents can teach their children to show respect in every day situations.
Develop Good Habits in your Family: Just as we develop good habits in our own life, we can practice good habits as a whole family: good habits or bad habits.
If you are Tired, be Prepared to make Changes: Being tired is a consequence and if we want to live our life to the full we need to make changes; big or little.