Here in Nigeria, on the Mambilla Plateau you can see children everywhere, working, playing, laughing, talking, or singing. I am always observing to see how children here live their lives here and it amazes me to see a little girl skipping down the street singing a song, barefoot, dirty clothes, and happy or a little boy rolling a bike tire down the road with a stick, proud that he has a bike tire and can keep it upright.
Since God has wired me with an affinity for children, this picture also reminds me of mistakes and lessons learned along this road of life in dealing with and loving children. I have one I would like to share with you today.
I want you to think of children as buckets. Every experience and word said to them all goes into their buckets and develops their views of the world around them, other people, and themselves. Studies have shown that a child needs at least six positive comments or affirmations to every negative word spoken to them to have a “balanced” view of themselves and their environment.
Do children every do anything wrong or need guiding? Of course they do, but how we phrase things, our tone of voice, and our approach can make all of the difference in the world in how this impacts the child and how the child looks at God and himself. Children that are treated harshly, belittled, and demeaned see God as a “Great Being waiting to zap them”. Children that are corrected gently with the focus being on the wrong behavior, rather than a list of other offenses generally have a more balanced outlook on things.
These are some words we need to avoid saying. Words such as “ What’s wrong with you?”, “You’ll never amount to anything.” “ I wish you were more like ____.”, “ You’re such a disappointment.” I know you can probably think of others as well. Also, the way we say things and the look on our face also impacts our children.
This year with 2016 right around the corner here is something to think about. What are you putting into other peoples buckets? I like to picture each of us as little children deep inside our “adult exteriors”. What are you putting into the buckets of those you love the most? What about those you come in contact with EVER?
My point for today is this: Do you want to leave positive impact or negative? It really is a choice, a deliberate, pre-planned choice. Choose wisely!