When Work Is Play

Believe it or not, young children like to help out. It’s true! Children actually enjoy and take pride in being helpful until they are “taught” otherwise. It’s only when they hear their parents or older siblings grumbling about “having to do” this or that around the house that helping out becomes a chore.

Teaching Children to Control Negative Feelings

Raising children is no easy task, and there are no shortcuts. The ever-shifting ocean of emotions that children go through at various ages and stages poses one of the greatest challenges to parents. Here are a few things that I have found helpful in teaching my children to deal with the negative emotions they experience.

Dad’s Advice

There is one day I will never forget. It happened seven years ago, a week or so before I turned 12, on what started out to be just another day.

The prospect of turning 12 seemed challenging, even scary. For the past several weeks, lurking large in my mind were questions and apprehensions that I was facing for the first time. Would being 12 mean that I could no longer do certain things I had enjoyed as a child? Was I supposed to act differently—suddenly “grown up” and “mature”? I wasn’t even sure I knew what those terms meant. I was confused and clueless.


Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.—Proverbs 22:6

Whenever you hear of someone doing a great thing, you may be sure that behind it somewhere is a great background. It may be a mother’s training, a father’s example, a teacher’s influence, or an intense experience of his own, but it has to be there or else the great achievement does not come, no matter how favorable the opportunity.—Catherine Miles

Leading the Way

Your children need Me, like you do. They need to learn to include Me in their daily lives. They need to learn to trust Me when the going is hard. They need to learn to depend on Me. They need to learn to bring their problems to Me. They need to learn to pray for others. They need to learn to listen to My voice, so I can help them make the right choices. Most of all, they need to learn to love Me and accept My love.

Confident Children

Parents who are concerned about their children’s progress at each stage of their development, as nearly all parents are, need to realize what an important role a child’s self-image plays toward that end. Children with positive feelings about themselves, who believe they can succeed, are far more likely to.

Children make their first judgments about themselves and their abilities in the context of their home. Parents can find opportunities every day to develop their children’s self-confidence, which in the long run will help them grow into well-adjusted, well-rounded adults.

Start Early

The need for loving, consistent discipline

Parenting is more than comforting children when they fall down, or making sure they get proper nutrition, and brush their teeth, and so on. Parents are responsible for their children’s spiritual training as well, and the foundation stone of that training is loving and consistent discipline—and when I say “loving,” I mean reasonable, even-tempered, and nonviolent. Children begin forming behavior patterns and their ideas of right and wrong very early in life, so the earlier you can start teaching them, the better.

One of a Kind

Almost anyone’s list of “People Who Have Influenced My Life” includes at least one teacher. What kind of teachers are these?—The kind who use their talents to help develop their students’ talents, the kind who strive to shape not just the mind but the heart. For me, it was a teacher we students came to affectionately call Auntie Marina.

At the time, my family was living in Japan, where my parents were involved in administrative work for our international Christian fellowship. Auntie Marina was my first- and second-grade teacher.

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