A Time to Be Silent

A Time to Be Silent

A time to be silent, and a time to speak (Ecclesiastes 3:7)

The most important gift we can give our children is self-esteem.

Research has shown over and over again that children who have a positive self-image are able to go out and take on the world. If a child has all the knowledge but lacks self-esteem and a belief in their own abilities, then they will not succeed.

The following are three ways to boost the morale and self-esteem of your child (or adult alike):

1) A time to speak:

When a parent realizes that they made a mistake, the best thing that they can do is walk up to the child and say. "I'm sorry -- please forgive me for what I have done or what I have said."

I was told by a teenager that he once proved to his father that he did not deserve the punishment that he was given. Instead of the father saying "I'm sorry," he said: "Well, in the past I am sure you have done something for which I haven't punished you, so let this be punishment for that action." He said he felt humiliated and worthless.

Saying "sorry" to our child when we are wrong will accomplish, amongst other things:

a) The child will gain respect for the parents. He will realize that his parents are strong enough and have enough self-esteem themselves to admit they made a mistake. This will give him more confidence in his parents.

b) The child will learn that If my parents can say sorry, so can I. I dont have to find an excuse or look for a way out of a bad situation.

c) Most important of all, it gives the child self-esteem. He will feel that he is not just an object but a real person with real feelings and when someone mistreats him, they apologize.

2) A time not to speak:

While you live under my roof you behave my way This statement gives the message to the child that they are temporary visitors in their parents life and not really important. When in fact, a child is a permanent resident in our lives. Once we become a parent we are a parent forever. In a marriage we can get divorced, in a business partnership we can separate, but once we are a parent we are affecting the life of our children forever. Many times, 60 or 70 year old people still talk about what their parents did or did not do for them and what influence their parents had on them.

A 70-year old woman was heard saying to her friend "My 45-year old son spends $200 a week in my honor." "What do you mean?" asked the friend. "He spends it on a psychiatrist talking about me".

A positive parenting habit is to frequently say to our child You are part of us -- everything we have belongs to all of us, you included. We are fortunate and blessed to have you in our life. This message, conveyed on a frequent basis, sends a very strong message about the importance of the child and will lift the childs self-esteem.

3) A time to be silent:

I have heard teenagers say, "My parents don't really know me -- they think Im still 8 years old. They dont realize how much I've changed, how much I've grown." Often there is some truth to this. The way to deal with it is to sit down on a regular basis and actively listen to what our child is saying (or not saying).

If the child has gone through a tough experience at school or with their peers all they really need is to be listened to. The child does not want advice but rather to just feel that they are important enough to the parent that they stop everything they are doing and fully focus on what the child is going through. There is very clear evidence to show that children who feel that their parents listen to them grow up with much stronger self-esteem.

In summary, here are three self-esteem boosters:

We should say "Sorry" when we have made a mistake.

We should not say "While you live under my roof you behave my way."

Sometimes we need to be quiet and just listen.

The content of this page is produced by mikvah.org and is copyrighted by the author, publisher or mikvah.org. You may distribute it provided you comply with our copyright policy.