Conditioning Our Kids
Whether we know it or not, we were conditioned by our parents and the environment in which we were raised. Why do casseroles and ranch dip make me happy? Because I grew up in the Midwest. Why do I have a high work ethic and can’t stop working on something until it’s done right? Because my parents drilled into me that “a job worth doing is worth doing right.” I was born in Kansas and conditioned to say “warsh” instead of “wash” and to this day have to focus hard to say it right.
Why do little kids in Houston go to school with Astros shirts, or kids in Atlanta wear Braves shirts? Is it because they’ve done a ton of research and have concluded their team is the best? Probably not. More likely it’s the conditioning of their culture, family and friends.
If you grew up in America, you are more likely to be Christian than Buddhist. If, however, you grew up in India—you’d probably be Hindu.
Conditioning is an amazingly powerful force that determines our behavior and beliefs. It is hard to deny the power in our own lives. So, if that is true, what if we intentionally conditioned our kids to be marked by love? What if we could produce kids who are loving, peaceable, gracious, patient and kind? I think we can—through conditioning!
What if, when our rights get violated, our kids see us react patiently and lovingly? Such as when we get cut off in traffic—what if we take a breath and respond graciously instead of angrily. How much do our kids learn from us about love from the backseat?
How about when the vacation we’ve been planning for months gets messed up because of weather or delays or cancellations—do our children see us make the best of it and find ways to have fun even amidst the annoying changes?
What if our children never heard us cut someone down or gossip or talk bad about others—even when that person plainly deserves it? What if our kids saw us quick to ask forgiveness when we do say something demeaning or act in a way that is less than loving?
If our inclination was to assume the best rather than the worst of others, would our kids begin to follow the same pattern? If they saw us talk less and listen more in a way that actually values the thoughts and words of others—would this make a difference?
As parents, it doesn’t take a college degree or advanced parenting class to make a difference that will impact our kids and their kids to follow. It’s actually pretty simple, although not very easy. It takes a daily decision to be people who are different because of our love for others…people who are marked by love.
Love can make the difference. Let’s start in our homes.
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