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Praise Up A Child...

There always exist two sides to every argument and every perspective has multiple ways to look at things. The truly happy couple is able to see both sides of the issue and create compromise. A parent who is able to "listen" to their child's perspective is rare. The parent who can receive their child's position as valid, even when not necessarily accurate, and who can lead without creating guilt and shame, is a very gifted parent indeed.

Compromise does not come without true understanding of both sides. If you are giving into another person's pressure or are attempting to avoid conflict, you are NOT creating a healthy opportunity for compromise.

NEWTON'S THIRD LAW STATES: "Every Action has an equal and an opposite reaction... "

Consider how opposite strengths and weaknesses attract when people date:

If a girl is a follower by nature (indecisive), she will seek out a boy who has leadership skills and can make quick decisions (notice I did not say, "good" decisions).

If a boy is insecure, he will seek out a girl who is complimentary and speaks of his strengths to lift up his self-esteem (and will forever be responsible for his feelings).

If one is a spender, the other is a saver. If one is outgoing, the other is an introvert. If one is full of life, the other is going to restrict that life. If one is full of laughter, the other is stoic. If one is educated and motivated, the other is "supportive." This "one up/one down" power struggle can be both a challenge that makes you better; or a reason for hurt and disdain leading to a breakup.

Not all opposites are a bad thing, IF you know what you are getting into. Unfortunately, in relationships there are BUILDERS and DESTROYERS. A Builder is someone who is trying to build bridges constantly. When it comes to the relationship, they ask, share, give, and otherwise bend in every direction (like a young tree to the wind). A Destroyer on the other hand, is a person who IS the wind, but more like a tornado. They blow down anything that is built-up. They create damage and mayhem and blame the other for the path of destruction the Destroyer leaves behind.

An example of a Builder:

A child is trying a sport for the first time and is discouraged because they can't throw the ball correctly. The Builder will take the time to teach, to lead by example, and encourage the child to keep trying, resulting in the child having a positive experience and outcome. This positive experience creates a fond memory for the child, and when they reach adulthood they might say, "I used to love playing catch with my dad."

An example of a Destroyer:

This same child is discouraged with not being able to throw the ball. The Destroyer will cut them down, call them names, shame and belittle them, and compare them to others who "get it." They are unwilling to lead by example, wont spend any time with the child teaching them, and pushes the responsibility onto someone else,"That's the coaches job." This negative experience creates terrible memories for the child. When they reach adulthood, they will avoid anything challenging where they might fail or be criticized and won't share many fond memories of their childhood because they didn't HAVE any fond memories.

The Bible says parents are to "train up" a child as they grow. Or another way of saying it is to:

6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6 New International Version (NIV)

If you teach responsibility as a child, they will be responsible adults. If you teach kindness, love, and compassion, they will have these attributes as adults.

If you train or raise your child to be a Builder, they will see the world through the eyes of an optimist who sees the possibilities that lay ahead of him (the plus sign). If you raise up a Destroyer, they will see life and their circumstances from the position of a pessimist who sees life negatively (the minus sign) and what they have to lose.

Either way it's your choice. You can shoot for the stars and land on the moon; or stay on the ground and complain about the weather.

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