After getting ready for the day, Luke came down the stairs and plopped down on the third step. With defeat in his eyes he said, “Mom it’s just no use, I feel hopeless.” I answered, “You feel hopeless? I thought you were having a good morning. You know, if you feel hopeless, you are believing a lie.” He looked up at me with his big brown eyes and Jack Nicolson arched eyebrows, “I am?” he replied.
I added, “Yup, you are very powerful; if you feel hopeless you need to ask Holy Spirit what lie you are believing.”
Within seconds, he sat up straight and yelled out, “Oh man, I think I’m no good at anything!” I responded with a proud voice, “Ew, that’s not true. You need to disagree with that so you can have a great day like you were planning on when you woke up.” I suggested he ask Holy Spirit what the truth was about himself. He quickly responded with, “Holy Spirit thinks I do a lot of stuff great!” I hugged him and he went on to have a great day in first grade.
At seven years old, he was able to identify the condition of his heart and I empowered him to change his attitude, which was a result of what was in his heart. While he has not been self-aware for that long, what you read above is quiet common language and external processing for our family. It is my job as a parent to teach my kids how to recognize and find the language to communicate their feelings, and needs. It is also my responsibility to teach them how to get their needs met in a safe and healthy way. I am committed to helping my children reach the fullness of their destiny for Jesus’ service so I take a lot of time making sure that they are emotionally healthy.
This takes a lot of intentionality and labor. There are many nights I go to sleep utterly exhausted because I feel as though I have been mediating, teaching, and pulling things out of my kid’s hearts all day long. The great news is that as soon as you help them with acknowledgement and language they have learned an invaluable skill they can use for the rest of their lives. Let’s face it, they are quick learners!
Many people think that acknowledging their needs is a weakness. Some ignore them all together and try to convince themselves that they don’t have needs. I meet with people all the time who did not get their needs met well in their youth and they found an unhealthy way to get them met later on in life. This ends up causing harm, shame, and pain. From my experience, I have found those who do not admit they have needs and ignore their hearts, end up having panic attacks and depression in their adult years.
Our emotions need to be as educated as our intellect. We spend years teaching our kids the value of education and developing their IQ. In Christian homes, we teach our children the significance of spiritual intelligence and growth. We cannot neglect to teach how to be emotionally intelligent as well. It is important to know how to how to respond to the issues of life as well as what to absorb and what to detox.
Self-awareness is a gift you can give and foster in your children. It can save them time and energy. It can also help them from being wounded with many emotions that we face such as rejection, bitterness, and insecurity. Self-awareness does not develop without being nurtured. Babies through toddlers behave their feelings. The goal is to teach our young people how to communicate their feelings so they aren’t adults who behave their feelings. If we neglect to challenge the next generation in the area of emotional intelligence, it will confine them from the pursuit of their destiny and people. Their emotions will either imprison their soul or emancipate it.
Redefined by Grace,
P.S. Stay tuned tomorrow, I will address what this looks like in preteens!!
Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.
-Vincent van Gogh