Planting Lifelong Skills in Your Kids

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading


Sometimes successful parenting is all in how you perceive a situation. For example, do you view your kids’ mistakes as frustrations that interrupt your day? Or are they, as James Joyce called them, “a portal to discovery”?

A colleague told me the story of a mother who set the course for her son’s life simply in the way she reacted to his mistakes. One day, as a little boy, he dropped a jug of milk in the kitchen.

Seeing her son standing in a large puddle of milk, the mother could have yelled, lectured him, or pointed a stern finger in his face. Instead, she smiled and reassured him that mistakes were a part of life. After helping him clean up the mess, she suggested they fill the jug with water, so he could practice carrying it. Years later, that little boy became a scientist, who attributed much of his success to his mother’s attitude. He learned from her that mistakes were nothing to be feared because they were opportunities for learning something new.

It’s in the growing-up years that kids learn mostly through experience – that is, through mistakes. That’s why it’s important for parents to create a healthy, loving environment where kids feel safe, even in failure. It’s all a matter of perspective for you as a parent. Are your child’s mistakes a doorway to your anger? Or do you view them as an opportunity to model God’s love and help your child grow and learn something new?

For a daily dose of encouragement and perspective, check out Jim Daly’s blog, Daly Focus, at