One of my best friends, Nathan Berry, an ophthalmologist in Burleson, passed along this email to me….
YOU AND YOUR CHILD
BUILDING A STRONG FOUNDATION
President Ronald Reagan accurately stated, “The home is the bricks and mortar of America.” The ultimate thermostat of a home is the parent. The way you and I talk to our spouses, our kids and our friends sets the tone of our home. If I criticize, complain, condemn, and “worry out loud” I can be sure my kids will be troubled and unstable emotionally. My world, like yours, is a RODEO these days! What can a parent do to keep the atmosphere at home calm and respectful?
THE WORRY TREE
When my kids were small, I heard a dear mentor of mine named Dr. Howard Hendricks say that every parent needs a “worry tree” just outside the front door. When we come into the house for the evening we hang all our fears and worries from the office, newspapers, etc. on the tree. When we leave the home in the morning they’ll be out there patiently waiting for us! (Better still, burn the tree!) The worry tree outside my front door happens to be a “red bud” tree. That tree must have strong branches. I’ve hung a world of worry and stress on that tree through the years. Thank you Howard Hendricks!
While speaking in Atlanta the other day, I encountered one of my favorite Kamp dads who is a banker and father of three young campers. His entire system is riding on the precipice of uncertainty. Many of his colleagues across the country are out of work and their companies are in “Chapter 11.” His home is calm, his heart is calm, and his kids are cheerful and resolute. I asked him what it was like and how he did it. His answer was insightful, “My kids have to see in me that I’m not afraid. My kids and I talk openly about what I’m feeling. I remind them of all God has done for us and that God is in control. God is a promise maker and a promise keeper. What’s real is not how much we have or don’t have. What’s real is God. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not passive. I’m in a battle and I’ll work hard to be the best in my field I can possibly be. I’ll bring my best to the game everyday, but ultimately God’s in control, not me.” Then my friend said something that gave me even greater peace, “History is full of men and women who’ve gone through failure and come out stronger on the other side.”
Austin writer Maya Perez, mother of a three year old, recently shared some feelings and thoughts that most all of us have experienced at one time or another. This weekend I was tested personally when spending the day with my two year old son, Kash. As I became engrossed in SportsCenter he managed to toddle into my office and into my desk drawers. Never mind the erasable markers and crayons his Mom provides for him. He knew my office contained the good stuff. The Sharpies!! Not more than 10 minutes must have passed before he dug through my desk drawers, found the Sharpies and proceeded to use our family room ottoman as his canvas. “Da Da I color.” After all the blood rushed out of my face I quickly had to regroup and figure out how to react, respond, and discipline my two year old Picaso. Not to mention cover, clean or come up with an alibi before his mother came home!
Mrs. Perez reminds us all that the true meaning of discipline is “to teach or train” not scold, admonish, punish, or yell. We are their most important models. The most powerful source of teaching we provide our children is our own behavior. We constantly teach by the way we live our lives, treat our children, work, play, and relate to others. They are watching and will emulate us. No matter if they’re a two year old, a tween, or a teenager.