Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How To Invest in Your Kids (and in people)

Investing in people is the most important investment we can make in this life. But how? How do we invest in the people God places in our lives. Some of the people I am most concerned about investing in are my children. Here are a few things (with a little help from Josh McDowell) our kids need from us in order for us to make the most of our investment in their lives Though this is geared to a parents investment in their child, you can use this list to invest in anyone.

1. Affirmation. I wrote a whole blog on this here. Affirm their strengths, their good motives, their potential, their experiences, their feelings and thoughts about themselves and the world. Find something you can affirm them about.

2. Acceptance. Does the person know that you love them no matter what happens? Do you communicate that regularly in different ways? This does not mean that we don't challenge the person to change or confront them, but it does mean that we will accept and love them no matter what. When a person knows this, it is a powerful force enabling them to be authentic and open up about their struggles. It is difficult to be truly accepting unless you have come to grips with the grace of God in your life and His forgiveness for your mess.

3. Appreciation. This gives people a sense of significance. Catch them doing something right.

4. Affection. Learn the 5 love languages. Use them appropriately. Love that is not expressed remains powerless and ineffectual.

5. Availability. Offering availability to people is one of the greatest ways that we can invest in them and authentically love them. Sometimes our pride and desire to "look busy" keeps us from offering availability to those we need to. There are definitely people whom you ought NOT to be available (we need boundaries) but there are also others that we need to increase our availability toward some people in order to invest well in them. Kids spell love T-I-M-E.

6. Accountability. If we really love each other we will love each other enough to confront. But not only that, we need to love others enough to remember what a person is working on in their lives and to ask them how it's going. It's amazing how much easier growth happens in our lives when someone holds us accountable.

That's it.
Make the investment.
Serve people.
Love people.