Once I was dogsitting for a family member. The little Boston Terrier decided it would be a good idea to stick her nose into an ant bed. It didn’t matter that I had warned her of what would surely happen or that I had pulled her to another part of the yard, June Bug was going to get in that ant bed. My children remind me of that little dog some mornings. Our children will eventually turn away from our good advice and make a bad decision from time to time. Use this as an opportunity to use the final component of the T.H.I.N.K Method.
K is for kindly redirecting.
Parents and children are bound to mess up sometime right? The truth is during this process we all will mess up a lot. So this component is very important for teaching your children to flex those decision making and critical thinking skill muscles.
Part of making decisions is that we have a fifty-fifty chance of calling the right shot. For our children who have been alive a lot less time than us, the odds are not in their favor. Parents, the best gift you can give your children during this process is the gift of kindly redirecting them.
It is easy to shame our children for doing something wrong or that seems plain out ridiculous to us. However, they are learning. They are going to spill things. They are going to cry over the jacket sleeve being turned the wrong side out, and their frustration with you refusing to do it for them. There will be difficulties along the way. There will be resistance and obstacles to overcome. However, remember who you are to your children. You are their example. You are their model and their mentor. When they make a bad decision kindly redirect them, and they will find the confidence to keep trying to make better decisions.
In our morning routine, the tears flowed and the shrieks got louder. My boy had gotten so worked up over the steps to getting his jacket turned right-side out. I stopped what I was doing because I knew this part was going to need some extra attention. I stooped down eye to eye with him. I prompted him with questions for every step from putting his arm inside to pinching and pulling out. I would say, “What is next buddy?” and encourage his response. However, Cypress got extremely upset. So much so that he couldn’t hear what I was prompting. In the past, I would have lost it. I would have likey screamed over him, or snatched the jacket and did it myself. Today by implementing kind redirection for me and him, I handled things differently.
I sent Cypress away from the situation for a breather. Redirecting and getting your eyes off of a tough situation helps everyone calm down and revisit with a new perspective. After a few minutes on his bed. We went back to the jacket and tried again. This time, however, we were both a lot calmer. He finally pieced the process together, and I don’t think either of us has been more proud. Instead of shaming him for being upset, and not understanding I got to show him kindness in allowing him to calm down and try again.
In the process of the T.H.I.N.K method kindly redirecting will be essential for both parent and child. We are bound to experience a bad day or a bad decision within a family. Equipping your child with a kind redirection will not only model for them the skills we are trying to produce, but also give them the confidence to continue the learning process in spite of not doing it perfectly every time.
This concludes our six-week implementation of the T.H.I.N.K method. As you have practiced the following components, talking to your child, hiding God’s word in their heart, prompting them to make inferences, noticing the good, and kindly redirecting the poor decision, you have equipped your child with vital critical thinking and decision making skills. You can now continue to build upon a strong foundation, and further, provide them opportunities to execute the skills and think for themselves. But don’t forget we are all far from perfect. Embrace and allow imperfect progress every step of the way. Your investment in your children is never in vain.
Action Step: Use the final week to compound all five components of the T.H.I.N.K acronym: talk to your children, not at them, hide God’s word in their heart, prompt them to make inferences, notice when they make good decisions, and finally kindly redirect poor decisions. Don’t stop at six weeks. Keep building your children upon this foundation and training them up in the way they should go so that they will never depart from it (Proverbs 22:6)