In reality, no child ever gets away with wrong-doing. Children damage themselves when they act destructively (stealing, lying, violence, etc). Knowing this, most parents place high priority on giving direction for living a life of integrity.
In the next several blog posts, we look at a child’s need for spiritual direction.
Children need direction but they need it in different ways, according to their personality and temperament.
My friend shares about how her two daughters learned to ride their bikes once the training wheels were taken off.
My first child was cautious. She wanted a lot of direction. What do I do to stop? What if I start running into the bushes? She also wanted a lot of support. You won’t let go, right? Don’t let go until I tell you. She waited to ride on her own until she had practiced with support for several weeks and until she felt she understood what to do in any situation. As I held onto the bike while she was practicing, I could feel that she was ready. The bike wasn’t wobbling at all. But we waited until she felt confident.
My younger daughter was a different story all together. She saw her sister learn to ride and immediately wanted her training wheels off too. I could see her set her face in determination: I will learn how to do this. She did not want direction or support. She wanted to do it herself and she wanted to be able to do it yesterday. Not surprisingly, my younger one took a lot of crashes. She did run into the bushes. She did forget where the brakes were. It took a long time. But she kept trying and she kept getting up again. I did sneak in some direction when I could– like a parent hiding broccoli under a layer of cheese: Try leaning in when you turn and see what happens. And she’d try it, and it would work, and she’d take credit for the idea.
Notice the first principle that guides us as we give spiritual direction: When spiritual conversations arise, we tailor them to the child’s personality. We change our approach to fit their temperament.
- No child ever gets away with wrong-doing. Children damage themselves when they act destructively. Click to Tweet
- When spiritual conversations arise, we tailor them to the child’s personality. Click to Tweet