A child who lacks a teachable spirit can be a challenge. It can be quite frustrating to attempt correction and improvement in an area, only to have your child dislike your endeavors. Hurt feelings, pride, and sometimes anger can soon ruin what could have been a wonderful learning opportunity. However, it is important our children be able to receive instruction continually, with the right attitude of heart and mind.
So, how do we remove this blockade and develop a teachable spirit? I think we first need to identify the root of the problem before we can find a solution. The most common reason for lacking a teachable spirit: pride!
No one likes to be told they’re wrong or that there is an area which needs improvement; why would we expect children to be any different? Knowing why our children are struggling in this area better helps us to remedy the situation.
Developing a teachable spirit isn’t always easy and it takes plenty of time. We most certainly don’t have it down pat in our house, but I believe there are several ways in which to establish this principle:
- Parental Modeling: When, as parents, we are open about our own needs for improvement, we lead by example. Don’t be afraid of sharing with your children your own areas of improvement and how others have helped you become better.
- Biblical Models: Make sure to point out examples of Biblical leaders who had teachable spirits. (Moses took advice from Jethro; Joshua from Moses; and so on.) Seeing these important spiritual men as not just leaders, but students, will help them understand the wisdom in learning from others.
- Historical Models: Add to those men of the Bible, other people who have made an impact on the world. Share not only their triumphs, but also the lessons learned from mentors and teachers.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Fail: Encourage your children to view mistakes not as failure, but as a means of learning. Just because you didn’t get it right, doesn’t mean a valuable lesson hasn’t been learned. Accept the fact that it didn’t get done right this time, but assure them they learned a good lesson and will be able to move forward.
- Lots and Lots of Prayer: While doing all of the above, do a lot of praying on your child’s behalf. Ask the Lord to work not only in their hearts, but in yours; showing you ways in which to reach out and help them learn this important concept.
A personal thought: It ought to be noted that sometimes our children struggle with this area due to lack of parental respect. Consider taking a break from book work to recapture your child’s heart. I find that when the ties between us are strong, the rest flows along nicely; they long to please us.
When our children struggle with having a teachable spirit it can make our learning day, and life in general, quite challenging. Before moving on with academics, the attitude of our heart needs to be dealt with first. When a child possesses a teachable spirit, learning is a joy and a pleasure for all!
“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”
I Peter 5:5
Chime In!: What advice would you give to the parent of a child struggling in this area?