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Don't Force Your Kids Into Activities Only You Care About

Jim Daly on

Q: My wife and I are trying to help our kids explore their natural talents in sports, music and other areas. But each time we try something new, the kids seem to hate it. I'm running out of ideas. What's the trick?

Jim: You might start by asking yourself: "Who's more interested in this activity -- my child, or me"

Let me share a story as an example. When my oldest son, Trent, was 5, we signed him up for T-ball. I was excited. The big day arrived, and the coach sent the two of us to the outfield. It was the moment I'd been waiting for -- father and son bonding together over baseball.

But after 30 minutes passed without much action, I leaned down and asked Trent, "Are you doin' OK" He replied, "Not really, Dad." I could see his heart just wasn't in it.

"Would you rather get a milkshake"

"Yeah, let's do that," he said.

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And with that, Trent's baseball career came to an end.

Skip ahead a few years, and my son, who didn't care much for baseball, couldn't wait to tell me when he won the chess club championship. He found a form of competition that appealed to the way he's wired, and I learned a valuable lesson. There's (usually) no cheering from the sidelines in chess. But I can be a super-proud dad watching my son apply his gifts and intellect to something he loves -- and he's good at it!

Q: I've heard lots of relationship experts say that it's important to "listen to your spouse." I try to do that even when I'm biting my tongue wanting to respond. But we still have trouble communicating. What's the secret?

Greg Smalley, Vice President, Family Ministries: To a lot of people, "listen to your spouse" simply means "don't interrupt your spouse when they're talking." Well, that's always a good place to start. But active listening goes much deeper. Here are a couple suggestions.


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