Book learning won’t amount to much if the heart of the reader is weak. Lazy. Entitled. One can excel at tests and utterly fail at life. And parents can run their kids from one activity and class to the next in the hopes of helping them gain a leg up in life and, in the process, cripple them emotionally, robbing them of the chance to develop those very traits that will help them succeed longterm.
When our daughter was young, a friend gave me a homeschooling book that encouraged parents to focus on attitudes and character rather than behavior modification. This book had a huge impact on how I parented.
I thought of this book and many of the ways we sought to train our daughter when I read a sweet friend’s post, shared on Facebook, the other day. I knew instantly the parents among us would find her wise words encouraging and inspiring, so I asked if I could share them here. My friend graciously said yes.
When Our Children No Longer Want to Be Superheroes by Brianna Swick
A few days ago while driving in the car, my seven-year-old daughter, Clara, said, “The paleontologist on Dinosaur Train said he fell in love with dinosaurs at age four. The astronomer from Ready, Jet, Go fell in love with a picture of space at seven. I just LOVE check lists. I want to be a school bus driver or a dance teacher when I grow up so I can check the students off as they arrive.”
Honestly, at first my heart sank. This girl taught herself to read at four years old. She spends hours reading about science and space. She often dreamed of being a superhero with the powers to do anything in the world. This girl wants to be a bus driver. I said something like, “Oh, that would be fun,” and the conversation quickly shifted to another topic as it so often does with little ones.
Her words (and my less than encouraging response) reemerged many hours later when I should have been sleeping. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in encouraging our kids to be super “successful.” We want them to know that they can be an astronaut or prima ballerina if they choose. As if success is marked by how prestigious your job is or how much money you make. Sometimes we forget that hard work and diligence in whatever you do is most important.
Children often see the true value in things we as adults miss. I’m encouraged in being a stay-at-home mom every time Levi says he wants to be a dad who doesn’t go to work. He sees value in what I do.
Although it breaks my heart that she’s realized she won’t really be a superhero with powers to do anything (an evaporated drop in that pool of innocence- does anyone else think of Bing Bong from Inside Out and start bawling at these moments?), I find joy in the fact that she sees the value in the people who take care of her. They have a huge impact on her life, and impacting lives is the highest ambition.
… just some 4 am thoughts from a tired mom …
Brianna Swick is the chief baker, chef, story-teller, launderer, maid, inspirational speaker, and chauffeur for three young children and one handsome husband.
Let’s talk about this! What are some ways you have intentionally trained your child’s attitude and character? Have you ever paused to make a list of key traits you’d like them to develop? Doing so can help us create a plan of action, a parenting road map if you will. And parents, we can do the same for ourselves. 😉 Because character is a big deal, and something God speaks on often.
Whether it’s regarding training your children, grandchildren, students, or yourself, we’d love to hear from you! Share your ideas, thoughts, and insights with us, because we can all learn from one another!
I would also add, there can be incredible, God-honoring purpose in driving a bus, in sharing the love of Christ with the little ones riding to school each day. Or, for those in public transit, in offering a kind smile and word of encouragement to the lonely and elderly who wonder if anyone sees them and if they have value anymore. Our purpose isn’t defined so much by the what but rather by the how, as Wholly Loved speaker Chaka Heinze reminds us. We live out our purpose any time we accept our role as imago dei. Want to learn more? Join us for one of our upcoming conferences, or invite us to come speak at your next women’s event!
Other resources and articles you might enjoy or find helpful:
Three Ways to Sabotage Your Children’s Future
Parenting With the End in Mind
Oh, and before I go, all my previous releases (ebooks) are still on sale for under $2! Plus Restoring Love is still being sold at a discounted rate. I’m not sure how long either sale will last, but you can check all of my books out HERE.