Felice Gerwitz is a wife, mother of five graduated homeschoolers, and grandma to eight. She began Media Angels® Publishing while pregnant with her third child and went on to write and produce many books and online conferences. Felice is the founder of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network and the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network. Felice invites you to join her on her show Vintage Homeschool Moms, celebrating over 400 episodes!
Being available comes with being a parent. We rarely have time for ourselves. Yet, if you ask any parent with grown-up kids, they will tell you the most precious time of their lives was when they were in the midst of the day-to-day chaos. Even if they did not see it at that time.
Being available is something you may not think about, and it is one of those character traits often dismissed because it seems like a given. If someone needs us, we stop and listen to their needs. Yet if we are interrupted at an inopportune time, what happens? We lose our patience.
There must be a balance because being available to our children also means having significant disruptions in our life. In turn, we can accidentally raise children that are clingy, dependent, and very needy.
Being available to others is an act of unselfishness.
Are we willing to stop and put down whatever we are doing to address the needs of another? We are often distracted and doing something else when someone asks a question. We are irritated to be interrupted, and we all have those friends and sometimes family members who are very needy and suck up all the oxygen in the room whenever they are around.
You can easily balance this by teaching those needy individuals the value of being unselfish and giving your child a chance to practice this. I created a Character Study Planner with this specific focus. It is a guide to lead our children on a path toward adulthood that is balanced and pleasing, not only to God but to others. In today’s culture of me-first, being available is a great character trait to encourage.
Of course, it is never okay to let anyone take advantage of your wiliness to help and be available. Some people are good listeners, and they are open to the needs of others. Sometimes they are imposed upon or coerced to do things they may not want to do because they have a hard time saying no. Being available does not mean we let ourselves or our children get taken advantage of, and this the fine line.
We don’t want to be the “mean” or insensitive person. So, that can include being the sounding board for other people, and that is not always what is good for us. When our children want to share a hurt, it is essential to listen. We can pray and grow as a family through the highs in family life and the lows.
Availability is spending time together as a family.
It is changing our plans to accommodate others, yet still putting our family first. Hobbies are great, but not when they take priority over our family. Availability means being open to your family’s needs and taking the time to teach our children this critical trait—family before friends.
Quick Guide to Being Available for our Kids:
- Have a system for interruptions. If you are talking to someone, your child can place a hand on your arm and then wait. No yanking, pulling, or whining!
- Get down to eye level. Often we are towering over our children. We can sit while they stand and give them our full attention. But, explain you expect the same from them in return.
- Punish lousy behavior. If interruptions persist, your child needs to understand that is not okay. Otherwise, it won’t be easy to teach proper behavior.
- Give your child time for questions, especially if you are teaching them something. If they are constantly interrupting, it isn’t easy to get anything accomplished.
- Put down your distractions when dealing with your children and their needs. Our children copy our worse behavioral traits because we demonstrate these behaviors often.
Use this guide for creating your own for your family and explaining clearly to your children what to expect. These years will fly by, and no one regrets spending too much time with their children. However, many regret not spending enough time with their kids or being available for them.
We have a new character study planner and character trait we focus on each month. For more free open and go studies make sure you sign up for our weekly newsletter so you don’t miss them.
Sarah is a wife, daughter of the King and Mama to 4 children (one who is a homeschool graduate)! She is a an eclectic, Charlotte Mason style homeschooler that has been homeschooling for over 16 years now. She is still trying to find the balance between work and keeping a home and says she can only do it by the Grace of God, and Coffee!