Which Is Better?

Build children or repair adults?

No brainer, isn’t it?

Then why are we so challenged to invest the time in children?

“Busy. Busy. Dreadfully busy. You’ve no idea what I have to do”. — Line from VeggieTales song

At the root of this challenge is me. And you. And every other adult with an opportunity to inspire a child by the power of our own example.

jeff noel – Blessed & Stressed

jeff noel, blogger, average guy, Father, Husband, teacher, is blessed and stressed after yesterday.

Blessed because I am all those things.

Stressed because I am not all those things.

Yes, my wife and I conducted an excellent Children’s Liturgy of the Word yesterday. Yet stressed, because at the afternoon birthday party, I realized there is a long way to go with helping our son work through his competitive nature.

He actually has a gift. We all do, don’t we?

Some us simply need help unwrapping it. Now, where did I put those scissors.

Children’s Liturgy of the Word

Children’s Liturgy of the Word. God’s Word.

And the fact that I would be delivering homilies (sermons) to dozens of elementary school children boggles the mind.

Yet, it will happen again today, like it does the fourth Sunday of every month. My wife and I volunteer to do this.

Four years ago, a woman from our Church made an appeal to the congregation that she needed more volunteers or Children’s Liturgy would go away. After Mass, we volunteered, thinking we would simply be helpers “on the sidelines”.

Funny how things turn out exactly opposite from the way we expect.

Then I Told Him That

“All I want to do is help you, and teach you, so you’ll learn the important things about life”.

He understands this.

Why? Because I’ve been saying it since he was an infant.

Over and over and over.

He knows that punishments or consequences are not something a parent wants to do, but something a great parent is obligated to do.

And we both are learning that even though society has long subscribed to “punishment for failure“, we are going to challenge the status quo with “reward for not failing“.

“Nothing you ever do for a child is ever wasted”.

So I Told Him This

“My goal is to help you”.

Had a “deep” conversation with our son (9) last night. He has several chores he’s responsible for. One of them is daily. This is the one that we discussed last night.

We finished our simple dinner from our screened-in back porch. The sun had set and it was dark outside, with only the light from inside the house gently illuminating our peaceful surroundings.

Conditioning led me to first offer a consequence for not doing what he is supposed to do. Then it hit me, what about a reward for doing it, instead of a punishment for not? We agreed to use both.

Generally, children are conditioned to think, “when you don’t do something you get in trouble”. I reminded him that the goal isn’t to catch him doing it wrong. The goal is grand and noble. And the goal is deceptively simple.

“My goal is to help you”.