The Process of Parenting: Guiding

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I began this series on the process of parenting by outline a series of six intertwined steps that are repeated over and over throughout the seasons of raising our children and teens into adulthood:

  1. Prepare
  2. Equip
  3. Guide
  4. Trust
  5. Release
  6. Encourage

So far, we have discussed the importance of preparing and equipping our children in the process of parenting.  As we look together at the essential step of guiding our kids, we will really begin to see how much these layers overlap, interconnect, and reinforce each other.

If we have successfully prepared and equipped them, it means we have proactively introduced them to and given them an effective lesson or series of lessons on a particular skill or challenge.  Moving into the process of guiding means really being sure we are giving our kids opportunities for hands-on experience with life.  We are no longer giving instruction from behind the podium, so to speak.  We are side by side with them, allowing them to practice the skills we have been explaining and demonstrating to them.  It’s all well and good for me to explain and demonstrate to my son the finer points of using a pair of vise-grips, for example.  And even if I give him his own set, he will still not likely become proficient at knowing when and how to best use his new tool unless I talk him through the process again while he is actually using them.  I must lead him from listening and watching to learning through trying and practicing.

When we are in the mode of guiding our kids, we may shift back and forth between guiding from the lead and guiding from the rear.  In other words, there is a time for stepping forward to demonstrate again a particular element of the new skill, and a time for stepping back and guiding their actions by our words.  And we simply will not be able to effectively guide our kids through new skills and experiences without showing a measure of trust in them.  If we always do for them, they will never believe they can do for themselves.  In fact, this element of trusting them is so vitally important that I will be writing the next post simply on this essential dynamic.  I look forward to sharing it with you next week.  And may you and your family have a very happy Easter together as you enjoy the fun of the spring season and celebrate the amazing gift of new life we have been given by our Risen King Jesus!

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