Have you ever overheard someone talking to a child in such a way that it made you cringe?
I was just leaving my house when I over heard a dad sending his 8 year old boy off to school on my street corner. His last words were, “and no crying or your friends won’t like you forever.”
I admit I don’t know the full story but his parting words left me feeling sad as I wondered what messages about life and emotion he was conditioning in this young boys heart.
What if instead we could call forth the gifts of character and approach the situations as a teachable moment. A window to share how to call forth a virtue. To build on the strength within and learn to apply them to daily situations by making the right behaviour choices that are healthy.
We tell kids to behave. But lets ask an honest question, what exactly is a “have” that we want them to be. Wouldn’t it be better way to build character to teach how their virtue links to behaviour.
How about, “I appreciate your generosity when you share with you sister.”
What if this little boy really needed more of the virtue of courage. Courage is bravery in the face of fear. You do the right thing even when it is hard or scary. When you are courageous, you don’t give up. You try new things. You admit mistakes. Courage is the strength in your heart.
How would he feel about going to school if his dad gave him a hug and said something like, “I want to acknowledge that its going to take a lot of courage when your school mates tease you.” OR “I believe in you to find the strength in your heart even if you feel afraid to ask for help.”
What would you say to build up the child?