Today’s guest post is from Dr. Kathy Koch. Dr. Kathy Koch, the founder of Celebrate Kids, Inc., of Fort Worth, Texas, loves helping parents understand children’s uniqueness and how to raise them with that in mind. You can find her online at www.CelebrateKids.com!
Dr. Kathy is one of our keynote speakers at the 2014 Hearts at Home conferences! Registration is open for the National Conference in Bloomington, Illinois March 14-15. You can find more info at www.HeartsatHome.org!
How’s your home? Its culture is more important than you might realize to your children’s healthy development.
How might your children describe their home? Is it friendly or unfriendly? Safe or unsafe? Pleasant or unpleasant? Joyful or sad? Encouraging or discouraging? Refreshing or exhausting? Positive or negative? Calm or crazy?
Would you like to make some changes? Sometimes naming things helps us see specifics. Names are powerful and empowering. Naming your house doesn’t make it true, but it gives you something to aim for.
If you named your house today, what name would fit? Are you happy with the name? Happy home? Stressed space? Living loud? Rushed reality? Imperfectly perfect? Grace place? What name do you wish you could choose? How can you make that new name true?
A missions team from my church visited the “House of Hope” in India. I haven’t been able to get that name off my mind. It’s beautiful. Refreshing. Open. Future-oriented. Optimistic. Home.
Does it describe your home? Would you like it to? Or, is something more valuable to you? Safe Place. Open Home. Passion Cottage.
A friend’s house was known as the “Kool-Aid House” when she was a child. Children in the neighborhood knew they would be welcome there and they could help themselves to the Kool-Aid that was always in the orange plastic pitcher on the top shelf in the refrigerator. Always. Imagine this home’s climate and culture and how children felt there.
What could you change to make a difference in the climate, culture, and purpose of your home? Don’t wait any longer.
Change can seem hard and overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. Here are some practical steps to take:
- Set a goal. What name do you hope will accurately describe your home? The name can help you get specific.
- Decide what you will no longer do so that name becomes reality. Think of one thing interfering with the culture you want to raise your children in. It’s probably the main reason you chose the new name you did. If your children are old enough, discuss the new goal with them and ask them to help you think of one thing to stop doing. Just one.
- If you don’t involve your children in the process, do tell them after you decide. In addition to telling them what you will no longer do, ask them or tell them what they can stop doing that’s related. For instance, if you no longer want to nag them, they’ll need to stop ignoring you. Help them agree this is a good idea.
- Decide what you will do instead. It’s always – always – essential that when making a change, we decide both what not to do and what to do. Again, involve your children, as appropriate. You might decide to be physically present with them when asking them to do something, rather than yelling to them from another room. They can decide to immediately comply or politely ask for another minute when it’s appropriate. Perhaps they’re almost done with an assignment and another minute or two would help. Rather than ignoring you or complaining, they can learn to state their request respectively.
- For changes to become permanent, the mind needs to be renewed. It’s because beliefs drive behavior. With our will alone, we can change actions, but the changes won’t be natural or permanent if we don’t deal with the belief causing the behavior. It might be a belief about ourselves. It could be a belief about our children. For instance, parents who believe their children won’t listen may yell, stop talking altogether, or quickly repeat requests without giving kids time to comply. Now they’re nagging. Reading, studying, and reflecting upon relevant sections of the holy, accurate, and living Word of God is essential to renew the mind.
- After the one new behavior becomes more natural, think of a second thing to stop doing that’s interfering with your goal and what to do instead. If you’re not sure, ask God to show you what to do next. The Holy Spirit is a powerfully relevant Teacher.
- Thank God when your Nagging Home becomes the Pleasant Place, Listener’s Cabin, or Relationship Central!
What about you? If you had to name your home today, what would it be? What do you WANT it to be? What’s the first practical step you will take?