My good friends Kevin and Melissa Lloyd are raising two extraordinary daughters. Their countercultural approach to parenting is having incredible results. Kevin recently posted their parenting philosophy online, and with his permission, I’m reposting it below. I hope these words encourage you as much as they’ve encouraged me!
In no way do I have parenting down. My girls are still somewhat young. Admittedly I have a long way to go. That said, to date, we have done more things right than wrong. A blend of being raised by good parents, deciding early on values and working in church where you see shining examples of what to and not to do has shaped a philosophy of parenting for my family. I woke up today feeling prompted to share 3 counter-cultural values my girls are being raised by:
1. Home is where children should be celebrated, not turned into celebrities.
Home should be a safe-haven for children. A sense of home shapes who they are and what they believe about themeslves. I believe kids should be celebrated more in the safety of their homes than anywhere else.
Home should not be a world that revolves around children. Be wise in how much of your time, money, focus and energy is poured into children. In a selfie obsessed world we have to guard from kids growing up thinking everything should serve their desires.
If we are not careful, our social media feeds filled with nothing but creative hashtags of our baby’s name can easily become a life of playing Uber driver for our child’s busy social calendar. Celebrity can happen overnight. Celebration at home breeds security; Ruling the home births a celebrity. Be discerning between the two.
2. My words shape their world.
When my oldest daughter was in 5th grade I used to always hear, “Oh no…next year is Middle School! It’s going to be terrible. I’m so sorry!” Get ready!” Upon turning 13 the prophecies grew worse, “The teenage girl years will be the worst years of your life!”
Can I be honest? Those warnings did nothing but make me mad. I am allergic to negativity. What was most infuriating were these negative words being spoken over and into the life of my little girl.
That negativity lit a fire in me. When Shelby was moving into middle school our family decided we would only speak positive over the experience. “Your middle school years are going to be the best years of your life!”, “Shelby you will enjoy this season more than any other!”, “We can’t wait for you to be 13, you’re going to be an incredible teenager!”
Parents, your words hold power over your children. They shape their world. Speak positive. To be blunt, quit projecting your negativity onto them. If your life is terrible, well I’m sorry, but don’t invest that into your child. Use the power of your words to change the course of generations in your family.
Your words are filled with vision, power and life or they are filled with venom, pain and hindrance….the choice is yours. Either way, those words shape their world.
3. Being healthy tomorrow is better than being happy today.
Andy Stanley has said, “Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.”
His statement is a vision for raising my daughters. I am more focused on the person they become than the level of “happy” they have in the present moment. Do I want my girls happy? Well, sure. But I also am wise enough to know that meeting their every whim doesn’t create happiness, it conditions them to get everything they want when they want it.
One example in my family’s life: Electronics.
Currently my girls do not have phones, iPads, iPods, etc. They get to use the family computer with permission for limited periods of time. I’ve said for years that my girls won’t have phones prior to being 15 or 16. This is my personal value.
Well, it has little to do with electronics; it has everything to do with discipline.
One day they will know what it means to wait, to hear “no”, to be disciplined. My job is not to provide them an electronic device today that will die in a few years, it is to instill in them a character trait that will last them a lifetime.
For us it’s phones and iPads, for you it may be something different. Don’t focus on the nuance, focus on the value: It’s better our kids be healthy tomorrow than be happy today. Hopefully these values help you today as you tackle the monumental task of raising champions!
For additional resources from Kevin, please check out his website at LeadBravely.org.
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