Last night during the Monday Night Football pregame, the host asked the panel of former players about Johnny Manziel being the starting QB for the Browns. Trent Dilfer delivered in 90 seconds something that every parent, coach, teacher, and influencer in the life of children should hear. In 90 seconds he destroyed the entitlement mentality that many feel. The sad reality of the Manziel story is that the promising on-field talent will never be fully tapped because of off-field issues and poor decisions. For Dilfer, the blame doesn't rest solely on Manziel. Others are just as guilty. You can see the video clip here:
Parents, here's 4 things you can do, regardless of how old your child is, to show that you love them.
Love them enough to set boundaries - "Third tree!" is what I say to my son when he rides his bike on our driveway. We have four Bradford Pears (which are beautiful right now in the fall colors) that line our driveway. The reality is, the fourth tree is quite a bit away from the road, in fact it's a good 15-20 feet from our sidewalk! But the boundary is in place because we know the same thing every parent does: children find the boundary and try to push it just a little.
Love them enough to say no - Saying yes and caving in is so much easier. It stops the incessant questions, it placates the tantrum, and it brings momentary relief. But it doesn't fix the problem. I love this article from Psychology Today that pointed out for French parents, the word no "rescues their children from the tyranny of their own desires." One way we show our kids how much we love them is we tell them no to things that might hurt them, be bad for them, or simply not be the best for them.
Love them enough to discipline them - The sad part of the Manziel drama is that at any point, the responsible adult could have stopped things by holding him accountable and suspending him for games, grounding him as a teenager, or kicking him off the team. In every case though, the same thing happened: the grown-ups failed to act like grown-ups. Dilfer said it best: "Decisions have consequences." When we fail to discipline our children and hold them accountable, we actually do them a disservice.
Love them enough to forgive them - If we discipline without restoration, we imprison. If we restore without discipline, we enable. When we do both, we redeem the child and show them a picture of what God has done with us. Mistakes happen, consequences must be dealt with, and sometimes you'll lose the car keys for a week. But on the other side of anytime you discipline, there needs to be the reminder of the wonderful love and grace we show because God showed it to us first.
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.