5.8.13

Pushing Children Out of Their Comfort Zones

by Sally Matheny


  
Pushing Children Out of
Their Comfort Zones
When I was growing up, I don’t remember getting out of something just because I was not “comfortable” with it. 

For example, at age nine, stacking firewood in the heat of August was not an enjoyable event for me. I didn’t like the yellow jackets, the heat, or the hard labor.

However, my daddy thought it would be good “character-building.” I was not given a say in the matter. When my father said, “Let’s go stack some wood,” I did it. I’m sure I suggested a wait on a cooler day or asked how we might avoid bee stings. 

However, on this, and other occasions, my parents ultimately deemed it important to push me out of my comfort zone.
Quite often, parents today (me included), try too hard to maintain a constant level of happiness in our children.  We want life to be a pleasant experience for them. 

It was brought to my attention, that perhaps mothers are more accommodating than fathers due to their sensitive, mothering hearts. 

We moms (and sometimes dads) are caught up in the emotion of the  moment.  We cave in and give our children only that with which they are comfortable.
I have pondered if I am really doing my child a service. I decided to make a list of what I ultimately want to teach my child. Rather than focusing on the immediate moment, the concentration lies in the attributes I long for my child to acquire as he grows into an adult.

What I want for my child:
Teach Children to Value a Strong Work Ethic
Ability to stand firm in the faith decision he has made, and continue loving and following God with all his heart, mind, and soul

Wisdom 

Be loving, polite, and humble   

Power of self-discipline

Strong work ethic

Skills to live productively and independently

Courage to be a bold witness for Jesus Christ

A thankful heart

Patience 

Courage to be strong in the midst of adversity

Desire to forgive and to pursue peace

Good steward of God’s gifts

Willingness to help and serve others


Whew! That’s some list! God will definitely have to be at work if anyone desires these traits. However, God gives us responsibilities as parents to do our part in training our children.

Before we step in to “help” our child, we need to consider:

If I immediately remove this annoyance or burden from my child, will it hinder him from developing courage to stand up for what is right; or from learning forgiveness and ways to make amends?

If I allow him to make excuses to get out of things he doesn’t want to do, am I steering him to a path of laziness and irresponsibility?

If I buy him what he wants every time we go to the store, will it delay his ability to exhibit patience and self-control? Will he experience the delight of true thankfulness?

If I take on one of his duties. just because he deems it too difficult, am I road-blocking his success? 

Am I robbing my child of growth and joy?



If I repeatedly tell him how much better of a student, an athlete, or a person he is than those around him, am I suppressing a sweet humbleness?

If I allow him to do only what he has a desire to do, am I shackling him to a lonely, self-centered life?  Am I promoting an attitude of serving others, or one of always requesting the service of others?

By not encouraging him to get out of his comfort zone, am I robbing him of growth and joy?

Are my own actions setting an example of the godly person I want him to be? 




Wow. The next time we are inclined to say:
“Stop whining, I’ll do it.”
“If she hurt your feelings, just don’t talk to her anymore.”
“You’re better than any of those people.”
“No, honey, you don’t have to visit Grandma. I know you don’t like the smell of that place.”
“You don’t have to do anything you’re not comfortable doing.” 

"It's okay if you don't help with the community service project. Your plate is already full with your activities in the Young Socialites Club."
“Go have fun—you’re only young once. Live it up.”
    
Maybe we should take a moment to ponder. As much as we want to “help” our children, we need to ask ourselves if what we’re doing is helping or hindering them from growing into the man or woman God wants them to be, which is ultimately what we want them to be.
We need to pray for wisdom on ways to encourage (sometimes push) our children out of their comfort zone. 

Be brave. Be bold. Do hard things, especially if they’ll draw you closer to God.
Good advice for kids—good advice for parents.




4 comments:

  1. Wisdom...pure wisdom. I'm going to make sure both my daughters have opportunity to read this.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Tina. We definitely need God's help in our parenting journeys. I know I do!

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  2. Wow! Great thoughts all parents should consider. By God's grace my children turned out pretty good, but I wish I'd had this kind of advice when I was raising my family. Blessings on you!

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    1. Hi Cathy! Well, I'm counting on God's grace, too. Seems like I learn mostly by trial and error. Parenting is a life-long learning process, don't you think? :)

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