Teaching Kids How to think

Teaching Kids How to Think

My oldest child would have been 51 this year had he continued to live on this earth. He’s in heaven, and his age is eternal. So, I’ve been parenting and grandparenting a long time.

I wanted to teach my three children some important things:

  • How to love others unconditionally
  • How to love Jesus more than any and every other person or thing
  • How to succeed in a career
  • How to be a loving parent
  • How to live with integrity
  • To be honest
  • To work hard
  • To love books and reading
  • To love the Bible
  • To be life-long learners
  • To be kind
  • To think like a Christian

I’m sad to say that it never occurred to me to teach them HOW to think. I worked very hard on instructing them in WHAT they should think. I drilled the truth of God’s Word into their minds and hearts That wasn’t a bad thing. My daughter is in her 30s. My son will turn 50 this year. I see that they can pull out of their hearts and minds those truths that we taught them.

But there were periods in their adult lives when they CHOSE not to live according to those truths. I believe it was partially because we are all rebellious by nature. And that, secondly, I failed to teach them HOW to think their way through choices.

They knew what Mama and Daddy had told them. They knew what the Bible and their Sunday School teacher had taught them. But we failed to teach them how to line their choices up and choose the best ones.

I failed to teach them how to APPLY those truths in their daily lives.

Now, as a grandparent, I am aware of how important it is to teach my grandkids not only the truth, but to rationalize for them why those truths are good and important. I encourage them to make small, insignificant choices for themselves. Hopefully, they’ll be able to apply those choice-making skills to the big decisions in life.

What would I have done differently with my three children?

  • I would have encouraged—no, required—them to make choices. No, I would not have sent them down the overwhelming cereal aisle and said, “Choose the best cereal.” But I would have given them limited options and required them to make choices.
  • I would have told them the truth, then allowed them to question it. I would have encouraged them to ask why, how and what-if more often.
  • I would have allowed them to suffer the consequences of their small bad choices. Annd then helped them to learn from their mistakes. asAgain, hopefully, that would have taught them that big decisions carry big consequences. Hopefully, it would have enabled them to avoid some of the big choices they have made and the sad, scary, frustrating consequences of those bad big choices.

I’m not a psychologist. Just a conscientious mom, grand-mom, and teacher. Please, learn from my mistakes.

Let your children make some bad choices before they are old enough to make tragic choices that can destroy their lives. Support them through the consequences, but don’t bail them out. Help them learn whatever lessons those consequences can teach them.

2 Comments on “Teaching Kids How to think

  1. A wise educator once told me, “WHEN YOU BAIL CHILDREN OUT YOU WEAKEN THEM!” Keep that in mind the next time you run to their defense and not let them deal with the consequences of their actions.

    • That’s so true. If we could only remember that!

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