We see our family not only as a team but also as a close-knit company. As parents we are their leaders -- but we can be either good or bad leaders. [featured-image single_newwindow="false"]May 2014. Our family photo taken in downtown Pensacola, FL.[/featured-image]
In our family the goal is not to lead our children like dictators but as loving leaders. Because we aren’t perfect, we value the legitimate input we receive from our children.
For the past few years, Tim and I have not only tried to eliminate the spirit of anger (Colossians 3:8, Proverbs 16:32, Ephesians 4:31) from our home, but have also asked them what we could be doing better.
We are careful to go to our children with an open and humble spirit. Children are smart. They can sense when you are not willing to hear what they really want to say.
Love them. Be honest. Be open to criticism and refrain from being defensive. Then they’ll open up to you.
These are some of the questions we like to ask our children when things don’t seem to be going right in our household or a child in particular seems to be distant or silently struggling with something on their own:
- Is everything okay?
- Has anything been bothering you lately?
- What have you been thinking of?
- Have I ( "we" when we are both present ) done anything to offend you?
- Was there anything that we said we would do and have not done?
In a group setting we’ll ask our children:
- Is there anything that you see our family could do better?
- Is there anything you think we should change in our family? Why? Most importantly, is it supported in Scripture? (We encourage our children to search the Scriptures.)
- Is there anything that we used to do well but are no longer doing?
- What do you love about our family?
- What do you look forward to?
These are by no means a strict list of questions but they are generally what we ask from our hearts. We really want to know. We are so glad that we’ve been including our children’s voices and inputs in our family life so that we love being and working together!
So when times get tough or things around the house seem rough, it has been so helpful for us to stop and talk. Evaluating the situation and tending to everyone’s concerns (even our spouse’s) in a healthy manner, allows our family to grow together in the Lord.
Have you ever taken your children's input and seen an amazing improvement in your family's life?