by Al Sabado
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Not once did we hear stories of children who grew up foolish, or with “horns,” because their parents did not give them proper training in their childhood. So how do we train children? Following are just a few tips useful for the young (or young-at-heart) parents with young children. Most of these tips are from the ageless examples of my grandparents, the late Pastora and Blas Sabado, who diligently and painstakingly raised my dad to be the responsible and dignified man that he is.
1. Don’t “baby talk” your kids. Some parents think it’s cute baby talking their kids. Please don’t do that. Kids, who grow up with this type of baby talking from parents, tend to be brats. Talk to kids in a straightforward manner: Let your yes be yes and your no, no (Matthew 5:37). Do what you say and say what you do. This way they respect you for your actions and your words.
2. Train your kids to get up (and go to bed) early—everyday! Getting up daily between 4:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. is OK. Be sure you do that too, so they follow you by your example. Yes, do that, even now that they’re still young. Remember it takes practice to build proper life habits and discipline. They learn to prepare for the day, not in a rush but in a timely manner.
3. Assign kids regular household chores. Start teaching them NOW how to do household chores, even with household helpers around. Your helpers aren’t slaves; they’re there to HELP you. So, don’t let your kids grow lazy and get busy with their tablets, laptops, and other tech gadgets unless their assigned tasks are done. Don’t hesitate to give your kids household assignments for fear they won’t do them properly. Patiently teach them the proper way. And, dear parents, please shift your perfectionism to low gear. That will save you from having headaches. If kids don’t get the task correctly the first time, don’t forbid them to perform the same task again. Allow them to learn! Kids will have to start acquiring discipline through practical skills and you’d better teach them that now, or they’ll learn something else, to your dismay!
4. Orient kids not to be fond of watching television. If you don’t have TV at home, good for you! You’ll do yourself a favor. TV watching can be among the most unhelpful, unproductive activities in the household. Unless you’ve trained your family members to focus on what matters most, then TV watching will continue to be a distraction for them.
5. Train your kids to be book readers instead. But avoid the trend to dictate on your reading preferences. Carefully select the books your kids read. Stay away from books that promote occultism. Do a bit of research to know the dangers of occultism and protect your kids against them. And if you haven’t read the Holy Bible, then read it with your kids. I’m serious! Don’t read anything else unless you and your kids have read it. And read it or listen to it constantly. You may download the free audio Bible in mp3 format here and save it in 4GB microSD, which you may play on your cellphone. The King James Version of the Holy Bible is so far the incorruptible translation—best to evade the others, especially The Message, translated by a New Age proponent. If you’re unaware of the dangers of the New Age (Movement), then research on that also.
6. Teach kids to save money and to spend only on essentials. Accustom them to ask before buying anything, “Do I need this item, or do I just want it?” Differentiate to them need from want, and instill in their minds to prioritize the need.
7. Impart to your kids the value of taking care of family members and the household. The idea behind waiting for everyone to settle around the table before anyone eats teaches your kids how to value family members. Develop also in them the concern for their own household. For example, you may tell the older kids to check if the cupboard still has food supplies, or if toiletries and cleansers are used up already, among other household necessities. Then ask them to make a list of items needed in time for grocery shopping. Inform them of the budget so they make sure they limit their list to essentials. Best if you let them do this assignment regularly. That way you teach your kids responsibility while you unload yourself of tasks you can simply delegate to them. Most importantly, remind your kids not to give up on each other but to look after one another, because time will come you won’t be there for them.
8. Coach your kids to practice social graces, without the need to receive “Like” or “Plus” buttons. Some teachers these days give schoolwork, which students will have to post on social media and collect 100 likes for it. That sounds innovative. But what does that teach our kids? That they’ll only do something unless other people like what they’re doing? So if they don’t receive favorable response, then does that mean they’re awful, or that they won’t do anymore something they ought to be doing to the best of their ability? Isn’t it best to teach kids to accomplish tasks out of duty, compassion, and sincerity—with or without people watching?
9. Teach kids to practice courtesy and propriety toward other people. Good manners and right conduct may be excluded from the school curriculum, but not from the household discussion. So teach GMRC at home. Teach your kids to assist people around your home. Teach them to greet the elderly in the neighborhood by saying, “Good morning, Sir (or Ma’am).” Teach them (boys and girls) to offer their seat to the elderly and older women. And to young boys, teach them gentlemanly etiquette when they’re with girls. For instance, (a) when riding a public transport, the lady gets in the vehicle first before the young man does, to make sure the lady gets in the vehicle safely; (b) when alighting a public transport, the young man gets off the vehicle first before the lady does, to make sure the lady gets assistance when necessary; and (c) when walking or crossing the street with a lady, the young man takes the outer or danger side of the road while the lady walks on the safe side.
10. Encourage your kids to share with you their story and don’t scold them for it. Some parents easily get annoyed when their kids begin talking to them or telling them stories. Be patient. Be sure to make time to listen to your kids. Yes, put down that laptop and stop doing your office work at home (unless you do work from home)! You don’t only bond with them during such time, you also encourage them to trust YOU with their secrets before they do other people. So if they begin telling you about their crushes in school, for instance, don’t panic! Hold your peace. You can use the time to be an opportunity, where you begin guiding your kids to make proper choices in life.
11. You may beat your kids, but don’t kill them! The Holy Bible says, “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die” (Proverbs 23:13). But some parents nearly kill their children when they give them beatings. Please don’t do that! Don’t even make the mistake of scolding your kids in public places or in front of people, because doing that can painfully embarrass them unnecessarily. Deal with your kids in the privacy of your home, with moderation and kindness.
12. Affirm your love to them no matter what happens. Be sure you have affirmed your love to your children, especially after you scold them. This way they understand you scold them for their faults, but that you love them regardless of the error committed. Now, if, for instance, you notice your son starts behaving like a girl, or your daughter starts behaving like a boy, be brave to deal with the matter lovingly. This is why it’s so important to teach children Biblical precepts early on, so they understand that the fear of God is never similar to following the patterns of this world (Romans 12:1-2).
I wish you and your family God’s best!
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. (Colossians 3:21)