DEVELOPING INDEPENDENT SKILLS IN CHILDREN:
Recently on a lazy Sunday afternoon spent at a family meeting, we dropped a cousin to her two bedroomed apartment. Accompanied by our three children we decided to escort her to her house to see where she lived. My teen daughters were delighted to visit her and were impressed with her house. It was clean and orderly with pretty glassware on tabletops.
Our 15 year old daughter, perhaps envisioning her future asked, “imagine owning a house like this, How on earth does one manage it?” Immediately a red flag was raised within me. What was I doing to ensure that one day our children would easily run their one-bedroom apartment or 5 bedroomed maisonnette?
I did a quick evaluation of their household chores and realised that there were gaps in building these crucial independent skills that would set up these children for success. The main gap being that they have hapa na pale (Swahili for bits and pieces or literally translated here and there) chores but I have not put a plan in place for them to know how to manage or run the entire house by themselves.
Below are some ideas and concepts I have used to develop independent skills in the children. However, you know that the proof of the concepts is in implementation and execution; and I for one I definitely need to tighten implementation while these lovely children are still under our roof.
Every year, I take a pre-planned and scheduled personal retreat for purposes of planning my year goals and activities. Goals include my personal development goals (a story for another day) but also our children’s goals. Here is a sneek peek of the factors I consider under the acronym SALLT. Each attribute will be posted in a sequel of blog posts using the 5 pillars.
- Spiritual Character
- Life-skill Training
- Talent Development
We shall begin with the first pillar.
For each of our children, I evaluate each child independently and see where there is need and opportunity to mould character. Building character is important because even if children have great skills and talents, a lack of character will be their downfall. Great talent without character is self-destructive. So character building becomes a major pillar in building and developing independents skills in your child so that we prepare them for success.
Being of the Christian faith we use the Bible as the basis of growing spiritual character. The children therefore need to be familiar with biblical principles of upright living so that they know what the commands are and how to follow the commands. That means scheduling time aside to study the bible as a family and applying what we study.
Character can be rather abstract and difficult to measure so for monitoring and evaluation, we use the fruit to the Spirit outlined in Galatians 5:22-23. The verse states that the fruit of character is produced by The Holy Spirit based on nine characteristics which are joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
The fact that it is produced by the Spirit and not automatically present in our children means that the character building in our children is a slow process which takes time and like fruit it will not ripen overnight.
Like a successful gardener parents need to tend and to nurture their children and help them to develop this characters. Training should ought to be done with gentleness.
The verse from 2 Timothy 2:24-24 gives guidance on how parents should train their children. As a parent I must refrain from being quarrelsome, I must be kind to EVERYONE (even-tempered, preserving peace) skilled in teaching, I should give instructions with courtesy and gentleness (and the children) should get to a point where they understand and welcome the instruction😊
24 The servant of the Lord must not participate in quarrels, but must be kind to everyone [even-tempered, preserving peace, and he must be], skilled in teaching, patient and tolerant when wronged. 25 He must correct those who are in opposition with courtesy and gentleness in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and be led to the knowledge of the truth [accurately understanding and welcoming it],
Below please find a tool that can encourage family members to each grow in the development of the attributes of the Fruit of the Spirit.
Step 1: Patiently teach and train the children on the 9 attributes of the Fruit of the Spirit. Defining and explaining each characteristic.
Step 2: Purchase 9 miniature pots which can be placed on a shelf in an area that is easily accessed by family members. Each pot should be clearly labelled with an aspect of Fruit of the Spirit in this case joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Step 3: Encourage family members to place name tags of person who exhibited a fruit of the Spirit. The name of the person should be placed in the respective jar or pot.
Step 4: At the end of the month, the person with the most attributes receives a reward.
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