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Talking Up to Your Kids

Talking Up to Your Kids

In a matter of weeks, my youngest son and his wife will deliver their first child. So over the last many months, they’ve asked thoughtful parenting questions. While I don’t believe in a one-way approach, I’ve shared a few thoughts.

“Your dad modeled something that impacted me before he died,” I started. “It’s a little hard to explain. But basically, he treated you and your brother like little men. You were still babies and toddlers. But he taught you big words, like, ‘diplodocus’ and other strange dinosaur names. And we both taught you long Scripture verses.”

I paused to frame my thoughts, “Children need guidance and grace. But deep inside, their brains are growing at a rapid rate. They absorb information if it’s offered. By not talking down to you, but rather treating you as mini-adults, your behavior and understanding stayed way above par.”

Weeks passed before my oldest offered, “I think I finally get what you’ve been trying to say. I recently heard someone talk down and belittle their child and it made me uncomfortable.”

“We certainly didn’t get it right all the time,” I replied, “but we tried. My artist spouse, and the father of my boys, saw the world in a different way. Children. The color of the sky. The mystery of the divine. With his unusual perception, he experienced life in a dimension I didn’t even know existed until I met him. While he only got to parent our boys for three and four years respectively before his death, his style rubbed off on me—more than I knew.

Even now, over twenty years later, I still value my boys as true gifts of God, given to grow me as I grew them. They required discipline and guidance, but more than that, they needed a respectful parent who could help them maintain their God-given sense of childlike wonder—the kind of wonder that made their first encounter with a butterfly like a first for me too.

Parenting will always be a complicated business. With every child unique, and every life compiled of distinct victories and heartaches, shepherding a growing soul requires a fine-tuned dependence on the Creator of all.

Time on our knees. Time in The Word. Time refreshed by His love and resting in wonder.

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child in my name welcomes me” (Matthew 18: 3 – 5 NIV).

By: Susan Schreer Davis lives with her husband, Don, their cat named Eggs, and the challenging effects of mitochondrial disease. Even after eight orthopedic surgeries to maintain mobility, she sings, writes, and teaches voice and piano. Learn more about Susan, her music, and her latest book at

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