Being a great-grandmother has only made me more reflective as a person. I think about the years that brought me to this point in my life. Some pride for accomplishments, some regret for mistakes; but all-in-all, an attitude of thanksgiving that my life has mostly been filled with spiritual wealth!
YO-YOs have been a passion of mine since I was a kid. In fact, I bought one just last year — smooth, polished wood with perfect balance and spin. It cost me $12.98 plus tax. A far cry from the 39 cents I paid for my first Duncan YO-YO that had my name carved on it.
One year I asked Santa for a new YO-YO because the edges of mine were worn flat from walking the dog on the sidewalk. Oh yes, I can still “walk the dog,” and go “‘round the world,” and “rock the cradle!”
However, the advent of Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, and yes, Mario Bros, has relegated the lowly YO-YO to the garage or basement, if not to the trash bin. Not that I’m opposed to video games, although I do sometimes question the wisdom of an eight-year old being able to blow a virtual man, robot or creature to smithereens. But it seems that video games are here to stay, as well as many other things that can occupy a child’s time, so it is left to us, as parents, to guide our children; to shepherd them so to speak with heart choices.
Christians are familiar with the concept of shepherding. It is gently leading and protecting our children – even to the point of being willing to lay down our lives for them. What parent wouldn’t exchange places with any one of their children to save them from the cruelties of this life? Since that isn’t an option, we must do the best we can.
Here are five very basic things that jump out at me as being really important for parents to remember:
- The parent is the parent and the child is the child. There should be no shyness or hesitancy to teach a child about authority and who is in control and therefore deserves respect. God made the rules, and His way works. Children need to be taught and disciplined with gentleness and consistency.
- A child needs to feel that he or she is a valuable human being. Not just because they perform well, but merely because they breathe the same air that we breathe – merely because they are our children. You may praise them for how they look and what they accomplish, but you love them just because they are, regardless of how they look or perform. They need to know that they belong and that their place in the family is important because there is no other child who could fill their place.
- A child needs the healthy touch of their parents to feel safe and protected. Lots of hugs and cuddles make the worst fear, disappointment, or pain disappear, and that need doesn’t go away when they become teenagers. Home should be a haven where they know that nothing or no one there would ever seek to harm them. At the same time, they should be made aware that there are those outside the home who might seek to harm them so proper precautions should be discussed.
- A child needs to be heard. Communication isn’t only one-sided. A conversation requires at least two people who are trying to communicate by taking turns talking. When one is talking, the other should be listening. Talking to a child is not as effective as talking with a child, which might turn out to be an exciting and educational experience. He or she should be shown the same courtesy and respect that we would expect to give and receive when talking with a friend.
- Children need the gift of time. Some recent surveys have shown that children wish for more time with their parents. We are just so busy! We might think about returning to a simpler time when YO-YO’s were fun and try to unclutter our days to make their wishes come true.