Dressing my three preschool sons alike seemed sensible at the time. It made clothes shopping easier, for one, and because they were brothers with similar builds and complexions, they looked good in the same clothes. At home it gave a sense of order, however superficial, to a household with three little boys in perpetual motion, and in public it showcased what I was sure was the most adorable set of kids ever. On a deeper level, it appealed to my sense of equity. I didn’t love one above the others, and had determined to never say or do anything that might cause them to think otherwise; I would treat them impartially in all things, big and small.
But as soon as they got old enough to make more of their own choices, coordinated clothes were out. As their individual needs changed and became more diverse, I found I continually needed to adapt and change how I gave each one my love and support. I still didn’t love one more or less than the others, but I couldn’t always treat them the same.
Now that those boys are grown men, in many respects they could hardly be more different from one another. My early attempts to establish uniformity now seem pure folly, and I thank God for giving each of them the sense to pursue his own interests, develop his own skills, and become his own person. Each probably has some things that he would like to change about himself—there’s always room for improvement—but I love them dearly just as they are. - Keith Phillips
Children remember things very clearly and are directly affected by their parents’ attitude and how their parents feel and think about them. So if you’re constantly speaking faith and positive things about your child, either to him or to others, and if you’re thinking positive things about your child, this will have a good, faith-building, positive effect on your child, and he’ll become more like what you think of him and expect from him. But if you are thinking or speaking negatively about your child, either directly or indirectly to him, it will have the effect of making him think negatively about himself and hinder his happiness and self-esteem, his performance, and the way he sees himself. Faith begets more faith; positive attitudes foster more positive attitudes in both yourself and those around you. It takes faith in someone to bring out the best in them.
Your child is different from any other child in the world, just as you’re different from any other person in the world. You’re a unique parent, a unique person, and your child is unique.
If your child doesn’t have a certain gift that you wish he had, it does not mean that he is inferior, or that he lacks quality or is missing something in his makeup or his mental functions or his ability to have a beautiful life and to be a beautiful person—and most important of all, to make a big difference and touch the life of others. It doesn’t mean that you’re failing as a parent and somehow not helping your child become whatever you think he should be. You’re not failing and your child is not failing. All children have some areas in which they shine.
Courtesy of Activated Magazine and Anchor (www.anchor.tfionline.com). Used with permission.