This is a Guest Post by Rachel Collins

When planning for a vacation, it's good to begin with a destination in mind and pack accordingly. But, have you ever arrived at your desired stop only to discover you left something vitally important behind? There are many children that are arriving at adulthood with some crucial things missing. Oh they have baggage, alright — just not the necessary items needed to make their landing successful.

To avoid a devastating crash, it's good to begin with a desired destination in mind. An example of a healthy landing would be your child becoming the kind of adult who is confident and respected by his or her peers. The kind of person who is knowledgeable, an intelligent communicator, trusted friend, and a loving parent.

Sound about right? Then let's pack to get there together. Keep in mind that this is the kind of trip where you pack as you go, a little something every day. Things will be moved, rearranged, adjusted — constantly customized to the traveler and circumstances.

Decision Making

Let's begin with a little girl named Megan who had a hard time making decision over the simplest of things. Although the child was only five, her mother realized if she didn't help Megan acquire the skills necessary for making good and confident decisions, there could be crash landing later in life. So Mom tucked a little decision into Megan's suitcase every day. Careful not to throw open the closet door and overcomplicate the procedure, she would select two dresses and ask, "Both dresses are pretty, but what dress would you like to wear?" After much consideration a garment would finally be chosen to which Mom would replay, "That's a great choice." As Megan got older, the same technique was used with other things: shoes, toys, school supplies. Megan would select ten cute folders and then Mom would hold up one in each hand and ask, "Which do you like best?" Reducing them down to the number that was actually needed. As Megan matured, her mother would ask, "Why do you think this or that would be a good decision?" Today, Megan is a successful young lady wisely making difficult decision.

Compassion

There was a five year-old boy named James who didn't have a problem at all with making decisions. He thought he was the decision maker, rule breaker. Mr. No Fear. But looking down the road to the desired destination, James' mother saw that while he would someday be a strong leader, she would need to pack a little compassion in his bag. One evening, she took James to help make dinner for an elderly neighbor, so he could be given an active role in assisting someone unable to help themselves. This became a regular occurrence, and over time James came to learn that everyone has value, and the mark of real leadership is in helping others — not in leading for one's own benefit.

Focus

What about the fun-loving center of attention flutter bug who finds it hard to finish a task before zipping off to see what someone else is doing? If she is to arrive at her destination of excellent businesswoman able to hold down a good job, a little self-control might be needed. But keeping in mind that everything comes in small steps, start with a short task with your help — one that is easy and takes little time to complete. For instance, "Let's straighten your room together. I'll hang up the clothes and you put the toys in the toy box." Or perhaps she folds the washrags while you fold towels. Brag on her when a job is completed. Little by little jobs can be enlarged and completed solely. Make task fun for example: "I will make my bed and you make your bed, the one that looks the best gets to have the stuffed rabbit sitting on it until the next day." What she thinks is a game is really you packing essential items of completing a job and doing it well into her life.

It is also important to evaluate wrong attitudes and actions that can be found choking out the good character in development. When removing those things that threaten the outcome of your child's successful journey, it is equally essential to replace them with promising potential. Teach them to ask for something without whining. Show the child how to share. Help them find something they can do while they wait for their turn. In most instances just telling a child, "You have to… or you can't…" will only add to the frustration and confusion. As parents, it is an essential part of our job to teach them how to handle things that come their way. By constantly monitoring what is being packed into their lives, the task of helping them reach their destination becomes easier.

And now, buckle your seatbelt and prepare for take-off. It promises to be the ride of your life.

 

Rachel is the mother of three daughters and the grandmother of two girls and a boy. She discovered a love for children early on and was inspired to teach Sunday School classes while still a teenager. She earned a promotion to lead the entire Children's Church program, which in turn led to the offer of a position as Children's Director at a larger church. Driven by her creative lessons, characters, and skits, her program grew from forty children to over four hundred. Before long, other churches and schools from across the area were reaching out to find out her methods for reaching and teaching the next generation.