Feeding Children’s Souls
As caring adults, we often focus on what has to be done for kids: keep them safe; get them to where they need to go; help them reach academic, developmental, and emotional benchmarks. These are all important, but one of the most important jobs we have been given is to nurture children's souls.
The way you approach children will impact them their entire lives. You are a model of what love does (or doesn't) look like, and how you treat them teaches them how they should (or shouldn't) want to treat others.
Here are just a few ways you can feed the souls of the children in your life. Consider implementing one or two of them this week!
- Listen. Whether it's something deep like trouble at school or something light like the latest Pokemon stats, take the time to truly listen to what a child is telling you.
- Make Eye Contact. Look up from your phone, your work, or the task in front of you and make eye contact with kids. If they are little, consider getting down to their height level.
- Carve out time just for them. Life is busy for everyone. Your kids will remember, though, if you take time to take them out for ice cream after school, invite them to take a walk with you, or even do a chore together. It's worth it.
- Let them know they can make mistakes. Perfection is a standard that no one can live up to. Help them recognize this by acknowledging that mistakes are part of life.
- Let them know that you make mistakes. It's important for them to realize that adults mess up, too, and that it's possible to make mistakes and still be a wonderful, caring person.
- Forgive them. Nothing restores the soul like being wholeheartedly forgiven.
- Start over again. When you've forgiven a child, truly let the incident go. What a gift for them to know that, in the words of Anne of Avonlea, "Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet."
- Respect them. This is done in a myriad of ways, every single day. Allow your children to have their own desires, encourage them to make their own choices when appropriate, and listen to, and validate, their opinions.
- Value them as a unique, unrepeatable individual. There is nothing like knowing that someone cares for you, with all of your unique traits, weaknesses and strengths. Let kids know that you see them and value them for who they are!
- Love them, even when it's hard. On the days when they've tested your last nerve, on the days when they've made you angry, and the days when you are preoccupied, show them you love them. One day, they'll do the same to others!
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