Posted by: Cathi Brese Doebler | March 13, 2012

Parental Words… A Guiding Light for our Children

Today’s guest writer is Claire Knowles.  There is more information about Claire at the end of this post.

Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light for my path.”

Children are very quick to respond to their environment. We know how babies cry when they are tired, hungry, thirsty, need a diaper change, or when they are uncomfortable or sick. Our toddlers are quick to communicate their wants and what they do not want. As our children grow into maturity, they learn more and more to use discernment in making their desires known, and to balance their needs with the needs of others. They begin to enlarge their vision, take responsibility for what is, and to raise their level of expectancy for favorable outcomes. It is a process. They learn to grow forward. They learn to trust that they do not have to stumble around in the dark. They have the benefit of a guiding light that tells them if they’ve shifted off the path God has set. The Word of God serves as our continuous light—and as parents, we’ve a huge intermediary role to fulfill to ensure that this light shines through for our offspring’s development.

A critical element in the success of our maturing youngsters is often in the power of parental words. As parents, we’re expected to assist our maturing young people in developing mature discernment.

“Our words affect our children’s future, for either good or evil.” ~ Joel Osteen

I grew up on a dairy and grain farm. My dad, a man of undeniable down-home wisdom, used to say, “There’s no use crying over spilt milk”—meaning, whatever has happened is behind you—you can’t un-do it, so move forward. I can still hear him say, “Don’t whine; stop complaining. Just decide what you’re going to do next, and then follow through—do it. Be expectant that things can change for the better, if you want them to change.” Then he’d be silent for a long while, as I pondered my plight. The next probing question always came, “How do you want this to turn out?” And then he’d say, “So what are you going to have to do about this?” For him, teaching moments like these were about choosing to be responsible and resourceful.

My dad was teaching me to realize that the problems of life will always be there; and if I choose to accept them, own them and take responsibility for them, then they quickly become new opportunities to grow, to learn, to become. And though he did not use this language, the meaning behind his words was also there—that through my choices, I am a co-creator of my future. As I learn to think things through and let my light shine, it will grow brighter!

As adults, and as parents, we know something else about circumstances, discernment and principled choices. We know it continues. Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”

And always, our relationship with God continues…

Claire Knowles, today’s blog post contributor, is a Leadership Consultant, Facilitator, Women’s Retreats leader, and Author of “Lights On!…A Reflective Journey: Illuminations to move your life forward with ease”.  Her website is:  www.lightsonworkshop.com

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