Yet again, your neighbor stops by to rave about your compassionate child.
She is self-aware, observant and has clearly learned that the best way to happiness is by serving others.
She has amazing balance in her life.
A little screen time here and a little service there.
She is building lifetime friendships and creating joy producing habits.
Aargh!?! It was just a daydream.
Reality may be less than perfect.
But are there things that you can do to help your child move toward that shining dream?
Try these Temple tips to help your child engage.
Help your child engage with life
In the Temple you learn that Heavenly Father is very good at looking outward.
He sees us and knows what is happening in our lives.
He has compassion and takes appropriate action to affect our lives for good.
In doing so, He receives great joy.
“This is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality
and eternal life of man.”
Your child’s inward looking screen time has you concerned.
How can you help your child find the kind of outward facing joy that Heavenly Father has?
Look to the Temple for great parenting ideas:
Encourage an outward focus
Read Sherlock Holmes or Encyclopedia Brown short stories out loud.
Stop to show enthusiasm about how observant Sherlock or Encyclopedia were and what happened because they were paying attention.
How observant is Heavenly Father? How do they know?
Why do they think paying attention to what is happening around them is important?
Have your family all close their eyes and take turns describing what the person across the table from them is wearing.
Jumpstart Compassion to help your child engage with life
Tell the story “Christmas Day in the Morning” by Pearl S. Buck.
Ask your children to imagine how the son felt, how did the father feel?
Have they ever felt like that when they served someone?
Start a tradition of asking about the good deeds that your children did that day.
The “Stop in Your Tracks” Challenge
Challenge your children to stop in their tracks whenever they hear the phrase “how are you?”
Then, instead of automatically saying “fine”, respond with one thing that is happening in their life.
Ask your children to stop in their tracks whenever they say “how are you?
Then listen to what the other person has to say about how they are. Then ask one question.
When they return and report have a special treat or have everyone clap for them.
“If a tree falls and know one sees it . . .
Take a walk outdoors.
Tell your children that at the end of the walk you will ask them “what was the most beautiful thing on the walk?”
Was it the fresh smell of the air?
Or was it the flash of color as a bird darted away?
How about the warmth of the sun on their face?
Aren’t they glad they noticed that?
Secret Agents !?!
Take your children to the mall, a park, or an airport or anywhere that they can sit and watch people.
Make up stories about who these people are.
(You can get funny and imaginative.)
Are they secret agents?
Why do you think so?
Are they magicians?
What amazing magic can they do?
Get Out of the House to help your child engage with life
Gather portable art supplies.
Find some beautiful scenery and paint or draw together.
Talk about what you see, hear and feel.
Perhaps you could mention how soft the waving grass looks or how much you love the sound of the bubbling stream nearby.
Model the skill of being observant.
Need more outdoor art ideas? Try these.
Translation: A Question plus a Compliment puts people at Ease.
(See ValuesParenting.com; Turning Teen Mirrors to Windows Unit 2)
Spend a meal time talking about this magic formula.
Combining a question with a compliment can become a superpower.
(Try it out yourself, it’s amazing!)
Observe why your child is “awesome.”
Explain what you love about your child.
Combining the why with the what will make a meaningless throw away compliment impactful.
For example, which compliment do you think your child would rather have?
“Wow! I am so impressed that you noticed that your sister’s piece of candy was smaller than yours. Thank you for sharing with her.”
Which compliment do you think would be more effective?
“I see that you really worked hard to prepare for that test and look how much your hard work paid off.”
And don’t forget that your example is one of the most powerful tools you can offer your child.
Keep yourself strong.
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Matthew 22:39
Remember the beautiful daydream?
Your child can take giant steps toward a happier future full of strong, healthy relationships by:
Opening their eyes to what is around them,
Opening their ears to the stories of interesting people
Opening their hearts to good people who will love them.
They will be more like Heavenly Father.
A dream come true!
You can help your child engage with life.
Will you share your experiences with using these ideas?
Did you think of other things to try?