There are lots of things that I forget – like why I’ve gone downstairs, the name of a visitor at church, or sometimes my own age, but there are particular memories that stick in my mind like concreted stepping stones in a garden.
One such memory is when I got my first job at the age of 16. I was to be the person up front at Hardee’s restaurant. Understand that this was back in the days before computerized cash registers. I was to write down the order correctly, bag it up, take the money owed and return the correct amount of change.
I was a bit fearful about the last in that list of tasks, and my wise mom knew just how to help me. She gathered up some currency and a fist full of change, and we practiced. She was the customer, and I the restaurant employee. She didn’t make it easy, either. She would give me $15.02 when her bill was $12.57. She taught me to count backwards, first deducting the two cents from the fifty-seven. Now their total as $12.55 – it was from that total that I would make change. She would make me count it out loud, starting with the .55. “Fifty-five, sixty, seventy, seventy five, thirteen dollars, (and handing over two ones) fourteen, fifteen.” Total change was 2 dollars and forty-five cents. That kind of practice with her made me confident to go to work. On my first day at my job, my cash register was ten cents off at the end of a busy day. I was proud of that, but sought to perfect that during my time there.
I took that practicing idea with me into my own parenting days, understanding that practice at home gives a child confidence when they go into the world to accomplish a task that seems daunting. Here are some of the things we practiced:
- I would have my girls use our play phones and practice making calls to 911, reporting that their mommy had fallen and needed help!
- We practiced speaking to people at church or visitors that were coming to our home. “How will you greet Mrs. So-and-So? Look her in the eye, and speak up so she can hear you say your name. “Let’s try that again.”
- We practiced walking in a lady-like manner
- We practiced asking questions to an employer from whom they would seek a job.
- We practiced sharing a testimony at church.
- We practiced how to care for a child they were babysitting.
Practice does indeed bring progress, but it also gives confidence and the know-how to do the right thing when called upon.
What is your child/teen facing in the near future? Are you teaching them adequately so that they will feel prepared? Of course, we need to remind them to depend on the Lord’s help, but it is our job to give them the tools they need so they will be qualified and able to do all things heartily as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23).
How do you practice situations with your children ahead of time?