Monday, January 26, 2009

Less than 4 years until High School!

Less than 4 years until High School, Darling Bride mentioned to me recently.

Our firstborn, a son, will be 11 this March. He is no longer a little boy and I have to adjust my parenting so that he will be empowered through his next stage of life.

What does this mean?

No, I will not panic, I will reboot my parenting model.

In the past, we had a daddy and little boy relationship. Thomas the Tank Engine, Blue's Clues, ABCs and 123s.

Now, we are on the verge of a father and young man relationship. Lionel trains, basketball camp, Lego Bionicles, Indiana Jones, Bible reading, big conversations, leadership, responsibility.

Coming up - cars and driving, algebra, logic, reasoning, decision making with lifelong consequences, ownership of a worldview.

Therefore, I am making these changes:

I will be intentional about not treating him like a little boy. Our conversations have to be moving toward "man to man". For example, when he was little, I would tuck him into bed and kiss him on the cheek. Now I have to make sure we pray together, listen to what he has to say, and make sure he knows that there is a man nearby that he can trust.

In teaching and instruction, I will make sure I don't talk down to him. Set age appropriate expectations.

In general, he ought to have more of my attention. His younger brother and sister are like two peas in a pod, but our oldest is the odd man out. I need to connect with him so that he doesn't feel alone and left out.

One way to focus my time would be to reconsider how I volunteer my time. Right now I teach 1st Grade Sunday School. Would it be good for him and his age group to have me with them instead? A question to ponder.

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