I am learning a lot about God’s goodness and how fortunate I am to have an incredible wife and four amazing kids!
But, glancing back over my shoulder, it wasn’t always so amazing! My kids deserved a better dad and my wife deserved a better husband. I was so wrapped up in my work and traveling so much to build these Kamps that my wife and kids didn’t feel honored. I took from them what is supposed to be one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child: the gift of honor. According to my dear friend, the late Dr. Gary Smalley, the gift of honor in a home is placing the highest value possible on each family member and demonstrating it in ways that the evidence for the gift is indisputable.
With children it can be perplexing! With mood swings, the need for discipline, demanding schedules, child entitlement, teen communication challenges, etc. communicating honor to the heart of a child is tricky business to say the least. Perhaps this true word picture will help give you an overarching key that covers all the above no matter what season of life your children are in. (My, how it is demanded for a great marriage as well!)
When I first became so madly in love with Debbie-Jo I couldn’t wait to get an engagement ring on her finger and get a wedding planned. (I was doing everything I could think of to catch this one and not let her get away!) Being broke at that phase of my life, I could only afford to make a ring and use an old diamond my dear grandma gave me for the single jewel on top. My brother was a dentist, so we made the ring in his dental office and placed the cracked diamond in its place. The stone appraised for $25 and was worth every penny of it!
To “pop the question” I hid the ring in a Cracker Jacks box and took her to the top of a beautiful mountain cliff overlooking Table Rock Lake. As the sun shimmered across the top of the waves below us, I asked her if she wanted some Cracker Jacks. She took the box and ate a Cracker Jack kernel. They were stale so she tried to toss the box over the cliff. Fortunately, I grabbed the box before it went sailing off the cliff and urged her to check out the surprise. The ring fit perfectly and she (thankfully) said, “Yes!” I was elated and still am today. That was almost fifty years ago!
On our tenth anniversary I bought her a nicer diamond to replace the original. She gracefully refused it and had me send it back. You see, even though my gran’mom’s diamond was only worth $25, Debbie-Jo had placed the highest value possible on that ring because it was the original and nothing could take its place.
When a child feels like that to a parent, no storm, no mood, no discipline season, no argument can take it away.
How do you communicate that kind of honor to the heart of a child? Briefly, here are the keys:
- Words of affirmation carefully given with thought and studious timing.
- Steady, consistent, firm (but not harsh) discipline patterns.
- People trump electronics!!! Put the iPhones in a drawer!
- Never condemn or complain or criticize harshly. Be a coach not a critic.
- Memorize scripture together. Select Bible verses/chapters that your child understands. God’s affirmation fertilizes the soil for your affirmation.
I hope and pray today that your home will grow in grace!