2 ways to give of ourselves to our children

March 6, 2014

ways to give of ourselves to our children

Many parents falsely believe that as long as they give their kids everything they need and want materially that their children will be satisfied.  This may work temporarily but it will not work for the long haul. First and foremost, our children want us.  They want our attention.  They want our time.  The greatest gift we can give our children is ourselves.

2 ways to give of ourselves to our children

1. Listen attentively to them.

This is a constant struggle for me.  It is way too easy for me to not give my children my full attention when they are talking to me (especially if I am watching TV or if I am on the computer). What I am saying to my children when I do this is that they don’t matter to me. I am also saying that I don’t value what they are saying. Ouch!

On the other hand, when I do give my children my full attention when they are talking to me I am saying to them that they do matter and I do value what they are saying. To do this, we must stop whatever we are doing and look them in the eyes.  This shows them that we are listening.  We must also make the effort to engage with them as they talk to us.

2. Spend quality and quantity time with them.

A lot of parents believe that as long as they are giving their children quality time once in a while that this is good enough. I believe that this is not good enough. Don’t get me wrong. Quality time is very important but it can’t end there. We need to give our children quantity time too. We need to make it a priority to spend extended time with them.

Our children want to know that we think they matter. So they need time with us and nothing can compensate for our time. Kids don’t need things. They need parents. It is through quality and quantity time that we build powerful positive memories for our children. A few ways that we do this as a family is having family game nights, going to the beach for BBQ’s, family movie nights, walks and bike rides and prioritizing a family vacation every year.

ways to give of ourselves to our children

What are some other ways to give of ourselves to our children?

Kevin Martineau

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I am the Pastor at Port Hardy Baptist Church on Northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I am married to my best friend and I have three beautiful daughters.

23 responses to 2 ways to give of ourselves to our children

  1. Share your hobbies and loves, but don't force them on them. I see so many today trying to live through their children. I love baseball, but I didn't play well as a kid. If I try to force my lack of ability on my kids, they may or may not struggle like I did. One thing is for sure though, they will not enjoy the game. They will always look at it as a way to please you. Let them enjoy games and save your influence for things that really matter.

  2. Great point Frank! Thanks for sharing!
    My recent post How can we can encourage our children to serve

  3. Being a single guy, I have absolutely no authority on this subject but I know what it is to be a son. I know for me, the most important thing that I needed was validation. Not in that cheesy sense that everything I said or did was good, but to understand that I was valued. That regardless of how good or bad I was, how successful or how many times I failed, I was loved and that was never going to change.

    Changes your identity as a child from being one of performance, to one of just "being" a son.

  4. Those are two great gifts for our kids, both can lead them knowing us better…which I think is the greatest gift.
    For them to know their father…so many don't.

    Peace,
    Jay

  5. I catch myself every once in a while 'zoning out' when they are telling me something. I've had to say many times, "I'm sorry. I got distracted. Can you start over?" The funny thing about quality/quantity time is that the most remembered times are the quantity times with the spontaneous or unexpected joys. Otherwise the lack of times is remembered prominently. Great reminders, Kevin! We have to give ourselves to our kids…
    My recent post A God-Dependent Gospel

  6. Give them permission to do what they feel impassioned about, and support them fully.

    My recent post overflow

  7. Make what's important to them important to you.
    My recent post Wood Obstructs My View

  8. Right on Kevin. One of the most important things you said "Kids don’t need things. They need parents." This speaks volumes. Thanks for a great post.

    Michael
    My recent post Personal Development Simplified

  9. I think it is great your first suggestion is listening, not talking to, yelling or whatever – really paying attention to them. If I start with that – listening is a form of respect – it opens all the doors of communication with them. Remembering they watch us too – what we do, how we live- is scary and powerful too. And seeing how we make decisions and make mistakes and how we handled that is important. Good topic to think about.
    My recent post Breath Prayers

  10. Yes, it does! Thanks for sharing Tony!
    My recent post The most courageous way to live

  11. The funny thing about quality/quantity time is that the most remembered times are the quantity times with the spontaneous or unexpected joys.

    Yep! I have experienced this so many times with my children!. Thanks for sharing Jason!
    My recent post The most courageous way to live

  12. I like that a lot! Thanks Herb!
    My recent post The most courageous way to live

  13. Great points Jean! Thanks for sharing!
    My recent post The most courageous way to live

  14. Very true. Most of the time we feel what we are doing is most important and don't find much time to spend with children. This grows not only the sense of you don't care them but will increase spiritual distance between you and your children. Spending time with children just don't mean you are entertaining them but giving a great time to learn them through your guidance.

    You have drawn the attention to the right point.
    My recent post Friday Gems and FF- No 1

  15. Great points Suresh! Thanks for sharing!
    My recent post The gap between knowing and doing

  16. Really enjoyed this! Just found your site today while I was looking up this exact topic. I ended up publishing my own blog about it. “Presents vs Presence” if you care to take a gander! http://bit.ly/N2mts3

  17. Yes, yes, yes. I have always said that whatever we do as parents, if we give unconditional love, we will not fail. All kids go through some type of developmental passage as teenagers, and if they emerge physically unharmed from the process, our investment in love and support from childhood will shine bright. They will be good people. They will be caring people. They will find their place in society.

  18. Loved the article. As parents we all want to give our very best to our children and this doesn’t only involve material things but what is most important is our time and our attention which is done by listening to them.