Perspective and comparison

Isabel Wolseley writes in Daily Guideposts, 2002 that she felt inadequate and envious during her senior year of high school. Her classmates seemed to “have it all.” They had the right clothes, friends galore, top grades, and self-assurance. They were the ones chosen for school plays, as class officers, for special projects. Now, of course, they were receiving all the end-of-the-year awards. Isabel, who lived on a farm and whose family was less well-off than many of her classmates, had never even been nominated for an award.

It was decades later that Isabel finally got the nerve to attend a high school reunion. When she arrived and began talking to her old classmates, Isabel made a shocking discovery—she wasn’t the only one who felt inadequate back then. As one friend put it, “You lived on a farm! You had a Shetland pony to ride. A haymow to play in. Now you’re a writer and you travel all the time. I’ve always envied you!”

It is said that comparison is the root of all feelings of inadequacy. We will always come up short when we weigh our most embarrassing shortcomings against someone else’s greatest assets. We parents need to help our kids understand this concept. Scripture warns that “envy rots the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). Let’s encourage our children, instead of dwelling on others who “have it all,” to give thanks to God for loving us and preparing a place for each of us as members of His holy family.

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Making all “A”s

Our kids are constantly evaluated on their abilities at school, in sports, in the arts and even at home. But what about you?  What grade would your kids give you as a parent?  Well, here’s a way to make an A every time.  Remember the 3 A’s of good parenting.  First is Affirmation.  When your children are sharing their feelings or opinions, they want you to listen to them, identify with them and affirm them.  Second is Acceptance.  Accept your children for who they are, not for what they do.  It’s important to give your teenager the freedom to fail. Third is Appreciation. When your children do something right, acknowledge it by saying “thank you”.

What are your kids looking at in each other?

Lori Salierno, in her book Designed for Excellence, relates that she developed a terrible case of acne when she was in high school. Everything she tried failed. She even heard girls at school whispering about her face. One night her will to cope copped out. Sobbing, she threw herself on her bed. Eventually her father came in to comfort her. “Lori,” he said, “I’m sorry. I know it’s tough, but you can overcome this. You need to forget about your face and start to work on your inner qualities.”

Lori wasn’t too sure her father knew what he was talking about, but she thought it was worth a try. She decided to focus on the Lord’s command to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). She began visiting a nearby nursing home, telling residents about herself and listening to their stories. The more Lori learned about the hearts and concerns of these senior citizens, the more her own pain seemed to diminish. One day, when a resident told Lori that she was “beautiful,” Lori realized that she truly felt beautiful. Her trips to the nursing home boosted her self-image and made it easier for her to face her schoolmates.

Scripture says that “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). When we teach our children to know and follow the Word of the Lord, they will move ever closer to the heart of Jesus—and develop a healthy self-concept in the process.

Need some extra money this month?

You reach into your pocket and pull out that forgotten twenty dollar bill.  Found money. . . We all love it!  Did you know you may have some right in front of you?   First, do it yourself.  Take the mower for a quick trip around the yard yourself or have your kids do it instead of a yard man.  Second, negotiate.  Don’t just pay your monthly bills… look at them!  Then, shop around.  Contact your cable, insurance, or credit card provider and negotiate based on their competitor’s offers. Teach your kids to be wise stewards of their money – by the way, your money will be their money some day…

Yes, your perfect child will lie

According to authors Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, “Honesty is the basis for any relationship because it develops trust, and upon that foundation simple things like communication and responsibility rest. When a child lies, that trust is broken and relationships suffer. Parents often don’t know how to handle dishonesty and common discipline techniques don’t quite address the problem. A more comprehensive plan is usually necessary since dishonesty often has several components.” The first step is to admit that the sin nature in us all WILL manifest itself in your children.

Want to spoil your children?

You’ve seen them in the stores, at Little League, or at ballet class.  Spoiled kids acting out. . . as their parents just stand there.  Here are some ways you might be spoiling your kids.  First, you do everything for them.  Instead, take time to teach them how to do the task themselves.  And let them know there will be consequences if they don’t follow through.  Second, your kids boss you around and talk disrespectfully to you.  Put your foot down and let them know their words won’t fly.  Take steps to avoid spoiling your children. Life will be better for everyone.