“Don’t be sad.”
“You shouldn’t feel scared.”
“Stop being angry.”
“You don’t need to get your feelings hurt over it.”
“You should be so thankful.”
It’s not uncommon to hear parents addressing their children with comments or corrections involving how a child should or should not feel. This is especially true with emotions many deem “negative” such as hurt, fear, anger, and sadness. Though these admonishments may be well-intentioned, I believe they miss the mark on what human beings are supposed to do. We are, by our very nature, highly emotional beings capable of experiencing a broad range of sentiments. If children are consistently taught to ignore or squelch “bad” emotions, they will likely be unprepared for life. A healthier, more holistic approach is to empower our children emotionally by teaching them to experience and express a wide range of emotions, and help them learn to regulate their emotions when necessary.
Emotional empowerment has five primary stages. Parents can practice each of these stages with their child no matter the child’s age. These are fundamental skills that everyone needs. Developing the ability to identify, express, and regulate emotions is a life-long process, one in which there is always room for growth and improvement. As such, parents can serve as models for their own children as every member of the family seeks to grow and mature.
2 min read
“Don’t be sad.”
5 min read
Early one Monday morning as a principal, the Holy Spirit grabbed my attention. It was a Monday like any other during that season of my life. I went into my school's staff lounge to place yellow slips into the mailboxes of teachers that had not yet submitted their lesson plans for that week. I'll never forget: as I placed a yellow slip into one math teacher's mailbox this particular morning, it was as if the LORD stopped me and said (though not audibly), "Larry, where is your plan? You want your teachers to have lesson plans, but where is your plan for your own life, your spiritual development, your marriage, your parenting, and the discipleship of your own children?"
6 min read
Not all picture books are created equal. Though I cannot claim as many years of parenting as others can (currently in my eighth year of parenting littles), I have had enough time and experience to develop strong opinions about picture books. I've read some with my kids that have wonderful illustrations, some that teach history, others that promote diversity, and still others that foster friendship. Kids' books range from informative to artsy, serious to silly, heartwarming to thought-provoking. There are lots of amazing picture books, and there are also some I would (personally) place in the "not so great" category for one reason or another.