Every mother wants to teach their children wise, wonderful and winning things. But, because we’re human, we will find there are things we desperately want our children to take hold of that we simply cannot teach them ourselves. Why? Because we aren’t perfect and we don’t know everything. I want my sons to be handy and, while I can figure things out, I am not naturally handy. I want my daughter to be able to play a musical instrument well. I play the piano but probably not well enough to teach her properly. I want to teach them hospitality but I’m still learning the art myself. My husband wants our children to understand car engines, but he was never taught so doesn’t know where to start.
First, let’s admit we don’t know everything. Second, let’s admit we want our children to know more than we know. Third, let’s think of some ways we can do just that.
1) Get outside help. Piano lessons, art lessons, sewing lessons, and on and on. If you can think of it, there is probably someone else who can teach it. If you are not musical yet want your child exposed to some training, find someone nearby who can help. If money is an issue, find a friend and trade a service. If you can sew and they can sing, do a lesson swap. Get creative to think of ways that you expose your child to things you don’t do at home. Church groups and community groups are often ways to do so at reasonable (to free) prices.
2) Take advantage of opportune circumstances. If a plumber comes over and he’s an amiable type, let your son follow him around. The plumbers that come to my house are chatty and I know would be more than happy to explain what they’re doing to a young curious boy. After he’s learned a thing or two get a book from the library and let him read about it. Neighbors are building a new house? Go over and have a chat and let the children understand what goes into it. Not in a boring way, but in a fun one. Picking out floors, cabinets, walls, etc. Just expose them to things. Be them educational or not. Life is life and kids find grown up things interesting. Otherwise they wouldn’t spend most of their pretend play pretending to be grown-ups.
3) Let them develop strong relationships with other adults outside your immediate household. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends will know things you don’t. Grandparents will love spending time with kids and, if you ask, would probably be more than happy to show the kids some things they don’t see around your house. Grandparents and other relatives relish bonding time with their grandkids and would likely think of many activities. Your children’s friends may have parents who are super sporty where you are not. Let them go and play sports at their house on occasion. The more you expose your child to (and not in a Tiger Mom give them 45 lessons a week type of way) the quicker you will see their true interests and talents.
4) Swallow your pride and learn it together. If there is something you wish you knew and you want your children to know then why not learn it together? Take piano lessons together. Take cooking classes or follow recipes in the kitchen together. Learn to sew or play chess or sing together. It’ll be a good way to bond and show your child that it’s good to try new things, even if you might fail. Kids love to see adults fail, it makes them feel human.
5) Let your children’s interests guide them. If you expose your child to enough things you’ll likely determine where their interests and talents lie. Don’t be deterred or intimidated if they are into something you are clueless about. Perhaps you are super sport and they just want a chemistry set to blow things up with. Your child will be stronger and more able to help and serve others if they are secure in who God created them to be. Find other ways to get your children better exposed to things they love, even if it doesn’t come naturally. The public library, shows, friends, extra curricular school activities, city clubs/groups, etc. are good ways to let your child explore their passions. You never know. You might learn a thing or two as well.
Let’s not let life, training or our past intimidate us and prevent us from raising our children to be strong, capable and willing. Transparency and honesty go a long way and our children will enjoy learning things with us. My daughter is not yet 2, but I look forward to the day that she teaches me a few things. I’m sure I’ll have to beat down my ego, but I will be so proud.
PS – Read more Raising Rescuer posts here!