Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Club Thursday: Mama Made the Difference- Lesson Two

Lesson Two- Mamas Teach Us to Believe in Ourselves

One of the verses that I can remember always knowing is Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." What I didn't realize at the time was that my mother was using this passage of Scripture to build confidence in me that whatever I attempted I could do with the help of the Lord. Now looking back, I see that my mother was teaching me what T.D. Jakes calls believing in yourself with the help of the Lord.

It is a phrase that we hear all of the time. Believe in yourself. But if we fail to see the Power behind us, we can believe all we want to no avail. We need to teach our children that they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them.

One way for parents to breed confidence in a child's is to affirm and sharpen his thinking. How can we sharpen their thinking? Here are some ways that we are doing this with Addie.

She not only plays with toys that are on her level (2 years old), we allow her to play with things that are meant for children more advanced in age (within reason). For example, Addie has been putting jigsaw puzzles together for several months now. The package says that it is meant for children 3 and older, but that means nothing to me. As long as there are no choking hazards or safety related issues, I have no problem letting her play with them. The result? She now puts the five puzzles in the pack together in about a minute each without looking at the accompanying picture. As she surpasses her ability, she is given another that is harder than the first. This keeps her always thinking and working and builds her confidence. To remind her Who has given her the ability to work these puzzles, I tell her at the completion of each one, "Jesus made you so smart!"

We are learning every day using a curiculumn that is meant for three year olds. I do not try to water down the content for her. I treat her as though she can master it. And she does! How do I turn her focus to Lord during our school time? We pray before we begin our learning time and we ask God to give us wisdom and understanding as we learn new things. As she learns a concept, I tell her that Jesus gave me such a smart girl.

Addie talks. Addie talks a lot! And I love talking to her, with her, and about her! Because I spend so much of my day with her, I have a much better understanding of her vocabulary than most people (Brian is really good at understanding her, too). However, some people who hear her sometimes make off hand comments such as, "What is she talking about?" Maybe it is just the mother bear in me, but it really bothers me when people make comments like that with that certain tone in their voice. The tone they are using tells my daughter, "You don't make any sense." That is when Mother Bear steps in and translates. Usually it begins with, "She said..."

I want my daughter to know that Mommy listens to what she says, understands her, and believes that what she says is important. It is something my mother did with me. At night when I went to bed, my mother would come into my room and we would talk. About everything. About nothing. About my day. About her day. About my interests. About my hobbies. When I would drive to and from work, after I was married, I would call my mom, and we would talk. If she was on the house phone with someone else, she would ask them if she could call them back because her daughter had called her. I knew that what I had to say was important to my mother. She never corrected my grammar or acted as if because she may not have understood me I had said something nonsensical. I gained confidence in talking because of the time that my mother invested in talking to me.

Most children could use someone to boost their self-confidence- someone to pat them on the back, to be there when they are performing, to cheer them on in their every endeavor, to encourage them to try again when they fail, and to applaud them when they succeed, even when their success is nothing more than a really good effort. Addie has been blessed with so many people in her life who love her and think the world of her. In addition to her parents, she has grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who encourage her and tell her how special she is. Is it any wonder that she thinks that when she enters a room, the party can officially start? We need to make sure that we as mothers are always there for our children when they perform at a recital or play on their team. We need to encourage them when they are the final strike out of the game or making the winning goal. Our children need to know that their mother believes in their ability.

Homework for the Heart: What did you learn about believing in yourself by your mother's example? By the way she interacted with you? What do you wish you had received more of from your mother? Why?

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