It takes 20 hours… to learn something new!
We all have to admit that when it comes to being a parent we could do better. No matter how hard we try, we always seem to fall short of what we perceive to be the perfect parent. Some actually make being the perfect parent their ultimate goal, while others seem to have a very lackluster attitude. Lets start by saying that, no one is or will ever be the perfect parent, but we all can do better.
Josh Kaufman in his Teds talk shares about how long it takes to get good at something. Research shows it takes about 10,000 hours to become a professional at something, but Kaufman demonstrates with his Ukulele it only takes 20 hours of practice to learn something new. The first step he uses is to learn fast is to break down a skill into small parts. If you practice the small things first you can then improve quickly.
As an athlete trains for a sport in order to do their best, parents need to realize that training and practice will help us to do our best. As I share these five things, identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. While continuing to keep up the strengths, make changes in areas that are weak. Here are five things we can do that will help us be a better parent.
WE NEED TO PRACTICE THESE small parts TO BE GREAT PARENTS
- SPEND ONE ON ONE TIME WITH YOUR CHILD/CHILDREN
One of a child’s greatest needs is for us to instill in them value and worth and one of the best ways is by spending one on one time with them. Take him or her out to eat, go bowling, bike riding, shopping or whatever they may enjoy. No matter how simple an activity, the time spent will be priceless. Dr. Kyle D. Pruett says, “The small intimacies that are unique to the way we parent a particular child at a particular time of life – theirs and ours – are more likely to appear during one-on-one time” in his article, The Value of Spending One-On-One Time With Your Children.
- SHOW OUR CHILDREN UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
Loving our child is something we most likely don’t need to be told to do. But agape or unconditional love is more than positive words, hugs or gifts we give to them. At times our love could be based upon our child’s behavior, performance and responses to us as parents. For example: If our child responds in a cooperative way with a positive attitude, then we naturally respond with love and praise. Unconditional love is not based upon our child’s behavior or performance. If a child refuses to do what we ask or they do it with an inappropriate attitude, they may need to be disciplined, but with the reassurance that you do it out of love for them. Herb Scribner also points out that unconditional love helps our child’s mental well-being and physical health in his report, Five benefits of showing your child unconditional love.
- BE PATIENT
God says in Proverbs 19:11 “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” Realize that our children are not perfect and will never be perfect. They are a work in progress and are learning day by day. They gain experience through trial and error and that means we as the parent need to be patient with them and allow them to fail. As we examine our child’s effort, more than likely, they are doing their best to succeed and to please us. Our response to their failures and short falls with patience will allow them to feel secure and give them the courage to try again. Our children need to learn patience says Abby King. “It’s unrealistic to expect children to be perfectly patient. However, it is important that they have the capacity to be reasonably patient. Our children need to build their tolerance to accept delay.” The Importance of Practicing Patience
- SHOW RESPECT
This is something we may not think of because being a parent allows us the right to expect respect from our children. They do need to, however, learn to respect other adults; and as a parent, we have the opportunity to teach them how to gain the respect of others and to gain respect for us by showing them respect. The most effective way to teach kids respectful behavior is to model it yourself, says Victoria Kindle Hodson, co-author of the book Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids. Remember that your children deserve respect as much as you do. If you show them and others respect, then your child will mimic that behavior. Dr. Charles Sophy gives four good ways for you to teach your children respect. R. E. S. P. E. C. T.: Four Tips For Teaching Your Child Respect
- PRAY WITH AND FOR CHILDREN DAILY
Setting time apart each day for us to pray with and for our children is the best thing we can do as a parent. They will not only learn the value of prayer, but they will hear us taking their requests and needs to God. This, in turn, shows them how much we love and care for them, instilling value into their lives. God, in return, will bless our life and our children’s lives. “How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart.” Psalms 119:2
There are many other things that could be added to this list, but these are areas where many parents are failing. No one will ever become the perfect parent, but we can strive to be better because our children deserve it and God expects it.
The Quakerdale Team
We wonder if you have any examples or stories you could share about any of these topics. Please let us know if this was helpful.