My son came to us today and said some things that were on his heart. He mentioned that he felt I come down too hard on him when it comes to work ethic. He also spoke of other things, such as how he compares to other students in his class and even race. Although I wish we didn't have to have the conversation, I thought it was very insightful and productive.
We talked it through using Biblical principles, personal experiences, and expertise. When all was said and done, my wife and I appreciated him so much for opening up and letting us know how he was feeling. He's actually pretty good at doing that. I could learn some lessons from him.
I must remember that allowing them to talk and not shutting them down is so important. It builds their esteem. It allows them to feel appreciated and in some ways, important. What could have happened if he never spoke up? Even more, what would be some repercussions if we didn't allow him to open up? The Bible gives a clear explanation for this: Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged. (Colossians 3:21 NLT)
Dads, let them talk. Give them that window to freely open up and express themselves. Yes, they must be respectful even when they express. But even when they aren't, it opens the opportunity to give clear direction with firmth (firmness and warmth). I literally had to shut my mouth and allow him to speak his feelings. I had to let go of my machismo and see this side of him. I love him all the more now.
How do you create an open forum for your children? Think about it.