[photopress:girl_with_bubbles.jpg,thumb,pp_style]by Daneille Ellis
Speaking to a gathering of thousands of women at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Dr. Steven Covey had a very important message: affirm the preciousness and intrinsic worth of each child.
Dr. Covey was delivering a keynote address for the National Interfaith Family Conference, presented by American Mothers, Inc. on September 9th, 2006.
Remember Your Worth
He reminded the audience that the greatest challenge of parenthood is to keep children from being seduced by their “cultural DNA.” Those are the influences that teach them their worth. This is determined by how well they compare to a set standard, whether in body shape, fashion, language or friends.
Instead, parents must constantly teach children to “remember their true identity, as children of the living God.” As fathers and mothers, our worth and our ultimate work is in “contributing to the family of the children of God.”
Dr. Covey spoke of the importance of honing in on the right points as a parent. “For every thousand people hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one hacking at the root.” The root of the problems so many children face is in not understanding their true worth. Affirming families and the worth of children is something that can change the nature and fabric of society.
Indeed, Covey mentioned that he has been studying on this topic, and is currently writing on it. When prison populations are taught the concept of their own individual worth, crime rates go down 80%, and recidivism goes down to just 5%– remarkable changes from a population that is often written off as lost. But when eternal truths are learned, lives and futures can change. The same types of changes can happen inside of a family when the same truths are taught and affirmed.
Dr. Covey taught that we all have four needs: To live—Body; To learn—Mind; To Love—Heart; To Leave a Legacy—Spirit.
As we interact with our children, we generally think in terms of what we want them to do: clean their room, listen to us, be obedient, do their homework. Instead, Covey taught that we should think in terms of the outcome of our method of persuasion. We should be helping to meet their needs.
In other words, most parents do things like ask, bargain, threaten or bribe to get what they want. But when asked what might be the worst thing that could happen in their relationship with their child, they answer “he would stop communicating with me,” or “she wouldn’t love me.” So next time you think about how you want to communicate to your child, think first: “Will this interaction encourage my child to open up to me and love me more, or less?” The answer will tell you if you are interacting in ways that affirm and lift your child or not.
Be A “Trim Tabber”
Dr. Covey spoke of a trim tab, which is the small rudder on the end of a ship’s main rudder. When the trim tab is moved, it turns the rudder which turns the ship.
Even though a rudder is quite small in comparison to the size of a ship, on a large freighter, the rudder can be ten stories tall; too big to be moved by one person. The trim tab, on the other hand, is just six feet tall, maneuverable by one person. The small force, properly applied in the right place, moves the much-larger rudder, which moves the very large ship.
Applying that concept to a family, Dr. Covey advised his audience to look for opportunities to do something positive, someplace that will make a difference. Each of us can trim tab our families, our schools, our communities. The key is to “work outside of your job description, inside your circle of influence.” That concept is a small key that will move large mountains. Or, in Dr. Covey’s words, “the secret to the big is the small.”
Develop A Family Mission Statement
This is a familiar concept to those who have studied Covey’s work. It is so important because it is a teaching tool that reaffirms all the positive work that is going on inside your family. It helps each member of the family to know what their family is striving for and what it values. “The process of talking through those ideas in making and refining the mission statement is as valuable as the end result,” said Covey, “so don’t rush the process.”
The next national event presented by American Mothers will be the 2007 National Convention, to be held in Las Vegas at the Renaissance Hotel, April 25-28th, 2007. For more info visit AmericanMothersNV.org.