Sarah
I was planning on wrapping up my parenting series today, but found that I had two topics of value to share. Rather than make one REALLY long post, I will separate them out and allow each their own individual spotlight! So, the series continues, and my rambling as well!

Today's topic has to do with caring for others. I have a son who has so much compassion for others. If someone needs something, he is the boy for the job. Compassion just comes naturally for him, whereas we are finding we need to work on developing it more in the other two. This used to bother me immensely, because I wanted my kids to always do the right thing immediately.
"Say you're sorry to your sister."
"How would you feel if someone did that to you? Now, go apologize!"
"I know it was an accident, but it is still the kind thing to say you're sorry."

Shouldn't these things be automatic? I'm realizing they're not, and our role as parents is to work on developing this area of the conscience so that we can teach our children to take initiative instead of relying on us to prompt their actions. If we do that, it will, once again, be more than behavior modification - it will be heart change.

Hebrews 13:18 is our guiding principle for compassion: "Pray with us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way." Did you see the term "honorably"? The definition of honor is to treat people as special, do more than what's expected, and have a good attitude. We need to look no further than the Gospels to see our prime example of honor - did not Jesus treat people with honor? He is the example to not only our children, but to us as well.

So, how do we raise awareness of honor in our children? We need to have a plan in place to help them become more aware of others, and thus, show a compassion for others as well. For example, speak to your children about what honor means. Tell them what it means to "Honor Your Father and Mother". Discuss the implications and how honoring is a command given by God. Have them start each day with an idea about how they can honor one another, and help them find specific examples in which to do so. For instance, instruct your child to set the table as they normally do. After it is completed, suggest they do something to honor others (do more than what's expected). Perhaps they fill the glasses with ice, or collect a pretty bouquet of flowers. Maybe they pull out the chair for a little one or their sister. Another idea comes in cleaning the living room. Everyone picks up and does their part. Time is up, and then you tell them all to "take an honor look." What does that mean? Again, honor is doing more than what's expected, and having a good attitude. It's fluffing the pillows, putting away a toy that is not your own, grabbing the Febreeze and spraying down the couches...that's honor. Teach your children to do honor activities and it will become part of them. One additional idea...give them extra money in their allowance, but the intention is to give it away. They are to honor someone or something with the extra. Enjoy the excitement as they think about what they could do - is it giving it to church, or perhaps pooling their money with that of their siblings to buy a toy for a shelter? What honorable action can they come up with?

We must teach our children that honoring others is a God directed activity, and they must lead their hearts to do so. They cannot do it alone, so we must have a plan in place to help guide them in this way. Take the time to examine yourself as well, as many times we do not honor others with our words and actions. Go above and beyond, and show your children how to do the same.

May God guide you in your endeavors and give you wisdom to raise your children to honor others.

Next time - dealing with rules...
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3 Responses
  1. I am so glad to have found your blog recently. This is a great post!

    It hard sometimes as a parent to be diligent in this area. You have some terrific ideas in here on how to honor one another. Thanks!


  2. Karen Says:

    I love that -- "take an honor look". I've enjoyed your parenting posts. Even with teens, there's still much to learn.


  3. Joyce Says:

    Hi, Sarah,
    This kind of ties in with 'It's more blessed to give than to receive' I think.

    An example of seeking to foster that mindset when our children were little was having them make little gifts for all their birthday guests. That way, they weren't so focused on themselves, but upon giving to those who were honoring them.

    Does that fit in with what you said?

    I'm enjoying your posts, too. :)