Raising World Changers
We want our children to be world changers. And that begins with us, teaching them values of courage, confidence, kindness, love, and generosity. Practically, what does this look like for us? It means leaving margin in our lives to spend time together. It means prioritising family togetherness. It means being intentional with our time.
We try to have our kids in only one activity at a time and it's not because we want to limit what they do, because we think there are ton of really great activities out there. We don't want to be the family that's constantly running from thing to thing and for us with two kids that's already two things a week that we have to be running to. This allows us margin in our lives to be doing some of the other things that we feel are important and hopefully we are leaving a legacy and creating a purpose for them so it's not just about dancing or playing piano but spending our time together, traveling together, and someday doing missions trips with our kids.
We really value experience over stuff. We try hard when we are giving gifts and planning our budget to prioritise things that are going to bring us together as a family, or things we can do together. One thing we were inspired by recently, is our neighbours, who have three grown sons now, said that when they took a family vacation, they did vacations in a way their sons loved being on vacation with them. They budgeted throughout the year so that while on vacation they could have no budget, and truly prioritise the experience.
CELEBRATE KINDNESS - We try to draw out kindness in our kids. Quite often when we get home from school, I will ask the kids, "What is something you did that was kind for someone today?" It's fun to see at their young ages, how they are practicing this, and to celebrate with them. Some days it's harder for them to reflect or think of what they did, but we just say let's try again tomorrow.
INSTILL COURAGE - One time we were at a restaurant when our daughter needed to ask our waiter for a napkin, and even after 30 minutes, she was in tears, too afraid to ask. At that moment, we realised, if we want our kids to be able to have confidence, we need to teach them courage because it's not something that's going to come naturally. When we recognise those characteristic we want to be in our kids we have to teach it. Courage, to us, is going be the catalyst that creates world changers in them because they'll be the ones who can stand up to a bully or they'll be the ones who can step out and say no this is wrong, when there's injustice around them.
DEEP CONVERSATIONS - It all started with us sitting down having a conversation about our children and not just a superficial conversation but having a deep conversation about what do we see in them, what are their interests, and how do we pull that out of them. Then, while we're pulling it out of them how do we also instill in them the other qualities we value. We're the parents and these kids are going to be world changers, but only as long as we sharpen the tools that they've already been given and give them the best opportunity to be successful.
Advice For Parents
1. Understand that each kid is different. It takes a lot of energy to customise your parenting to each kid. It won't seem fair, but it will be for their best.
2. Model love, forgiveness, & grace. We instill there's a lot of love and forgiveness and when they do something wrong, they are not condemned, and they can come to us to share and talk it through. This takes practice and modelling - we as parents even need to apogolise when we have done wrong. When we apologise for our short temper or unkind tone, it speaks so hugely to them. They learn everything.
3. Be intentional. We take time to talk about our children, and learn about them. We saw our daughter was interested in dance from a really early age, and after discussing it, we decided to put her in dance. And today, 6 years later, she is still in dance, and she loves it. Through dance she is learning discipline, endurance, and confidence, and this all began with us sitting down talking about our daughter.
Something that Benn told me very early on, which I have to remind myself of often is, that our kids are not just part of our story we're a part of theirs. I think sometimes remembering that, even though right now it feels like we're the story and they're just a piece of it, they actually are the story and we're a piece of it. So it's the other way around. Sometimes I can't even wrap my head around that. I think this is their story and someday they'll be sitting here talking about how they were parented. It's important to just keep perspective of all things.
I tell everybody who lives in our house, which includes Amber and our two kids, that they're my favorite but everybody knows that Amber is actually my favourite. We joke about it a little bit my daughter says, yeah I know that I'm your favorite but Mommy's actually your favourite. For me it's true and as the father in this home I want my kids and my wife to all know very, very specifically that she's my favorite and that when push comes to shove I'm going to have her back and our kids are not going to divide us, if I have to side with somebody I'm going to side with their mom and it doesn't mean that we agree 100% all the time, but I just want my kids to grow up knowing that their dad's favorite person in the world was their mom and I think that if I can do anything that's the one legacy that I want to pass on to our kids.
Amber and Benn would love to hear from you! They are curious to know, what do you find to be challenging today as a parent?
Amber and Benn have been married for 16 years and going strong. They have 2 beautiful children who still adore their parents. They have designed and built two homes together, with their own hands. Amber is a brilliant fundraiser and event manager with an education in interior design, elementary education, and youth studies. Benn is the Senior Director of CCM Operations for a large Health Care company, with education in architectural design, pastoral studies and a masters degree in Business Administration. Both have previously worked together as youth pastors. They have also worked in higher education, Amber formerly as an Admissions Counselor and Benn now currently works as adjunct faculty teaching business courses. Together they have a passion to see others give generously to trusted organisations, which is how Copper Bottom was created. They love to volunteer at their kids' school, host parties, travel and create memorable experiences together with their family.