Every week we have a discussion during the day, as young mom’s, about different topics regarding child-raising, marriage and keeping our sanity. This format works well for mom’s in the Nordics because of the cultural focus of family. Most mothers and fathers can take advantage of generous time with their kids when they are first born.
The format is very relaxed because we have many kids with us as we discuss. We keep the discussion to about 5 minutes and then have activities for the kids.
This week I asked the following question:
How do people decide what is right and wrong?
What type of morals should we stress as parents?
I think the following scripture gives us a blueprint for what to focus on, even if we have mom’s with us that don’t necessarily believe in God.
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. — Mt 22:37-39
What is the primary focus from this scripture? Relationships! We know how critical relationships are in determining the outcome of someone’s life. When raising small kids, we can be directing them to how their behavior affects others.
Our daughter is two and this is a huge focus of our family. Around the time she turned two, I was staying at home with her and took her to the playground everyday. Anytime I saw another child laughing or smiling, I would point that out. “Look, Nora! She’s happy!” And if the reverse was true, I would do the same: “Look, Nora! She’s crying… she’s sad.” It didn’t take long for her to learn this.
Then I could take it to the next level. When she would do something to hurt another person (whether physical or emotional) I could point out how it made the other feel. Of course it’s an area we’ll probably work on for many years, but it’s a good area for me to focus on and decide which battles I am going to take.
After pointing out how a child’s behavior affects another, it is then important to “train in righteousness”. By that I mean, to show how the child should have behaved. Today, before we started our discussion, one of the children pushed another child and he fell down. It was almost ironic how perfect that situation was to start our discussion. The mom took the time to point out how it made the little boy sad. It was a great example for us all to see.
Relationships only get more complicated with age but if we can train our children from the beginning about how important they are, it will go well with them.