“Catch ‘Em Being Good” Or Why Positive Discipline Teaches The Right Lesson
Fathers’ Day, 2003
It seems like only yesterday, but, Ginny (my wife) and I have been in the parenting business for over 19 years, now. We both have a little more gray hair, and in my case, a little more weight. But, I would hope that over the years, I’ve learned a bit more about how to relate to our children.
We learned really fast that when we carried the kids out the door of the hospitals, that there were no “manuals” on how to rear kids sent home with them. They came home with little stocking caps on their heads, wrapped in blankets, and buckled into car seats.
And then the adventure began. To be honest, Ginny and I did buy a Better Homes and Gardens book about child-rearing. We searched through Walden Books section on parenting and parenting skills. I’m not sure why we bought the Better Homes and Gardens book (considering we were raising kids and not flowers), except that as I remember it, it did a pretty good job of explaining the kinds of things parents might encounter in their growing children from birth until, oh, about two years of age or more.
But the most valuable lesson I’ve learned (other than children have minds of their own) is that if we paid attention to the kids, spent time with them doing the kinds of things they enjoyed, built up an emotional bank account in our kids (letting them really know we loved them), and “caught ’em being good,” when they did the right things, when the time came when we had to correct them, they would listen to us a whole lot better, since, we had spent time listening to them and had reinforced over and over in many ways that we cherished them.
Children learn the fastest during the first four years of life. They’re like little sponges, which soak up everything around them, i.e., the attitudes of parents, their language (spoken and unspoken) and what their parents really believe, which is usually discovered in those moments lived in the home day in and day out.
My challenge to all of us this Fathers’ Day, as we relate as dads, grand-dads, and significant others, is that the Bible is right when it says: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
(Proverbs 22:6 NIV)
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