How to See the World Like Your Kids See It

In this podcast, we are bringing in three of our girls – Madeline, Macy, and McKenzie. These sisters are eighteen and twenty-one months apart, respectively, so they have grown up together the whole way!

It’s an honor to get to build our kids’ childhood. God entrusts us with building an amazing childhood for our kids. Not amazing as in going to Disneyworld, but amazing as in creating an environment for them that brings out the best in them – giving them memories of a home that is encouraging and safe and full of life!

We have listed the key topics, but we really encourage you to listen to the podcast and hear it straight from them! There’s so much more in the podcast than what we can list here.

As parents, we have the privilege of getting to build a childhood that our kids love. Your family has its own incredible and unique impact on how your kids’ childhoods are being built, depending on how many people are in the family, the activities you choose to spend your time doing, and the community in which you spend your time. Imagine life a couple of decades from now…what will your children say they loved about their childhood?  

Here are a few things our girls said they loved about their childhood: 

  • They were allowed and encouraged to btheir unique selves. 
  • They were empowered to be independent. One example was McCade fixing himself breakfast when he was way too young to be doing so. Another was they all were trained as soon as they were tall enough to reach the washer/dryer to do their own laundry. 
  • They were surrounded by great people in their community: family, church, friends, neighbors, athletes on their sports teams, etc.  
  • They had lots of time to play and interact with their siblings.

Listen to what our kids said they wished we’d have done differently, and apply it to the childhood you are building for your kids now. (In other words, learn from our mistakes!) 

  • They wanted more time alone with each parent. (It’s extremely valuable to spend alone time with each child. Be intentional with this…take a kid with you on errands, make a quick run to get gas, grab a treat to make the time special.)
  • They wished we would have celebrated more of the big and little things in life. (Be your kids’ biggest, loudest fans.) 
  • They wished for more affection from everyone, but especially to see more physical affection between us as parents. (Don’t make affection a mystery for your kids – give them an example of how a husband and wife interact appropriately and publicly with physical touch.)

The girls grew up in the younger stages of our parenting (meaning the years we had no idea what we were doing). We asked them, “How did you view us as parents?  

  • McKenzie shared: Parents have the first opportunity to answer questions that kids don’t know. This gives parents the upper hand on how kids view the world. 
  • Madeline shared: Mom was safe and invisible – she was a safe place to share about life, but sometimes never felt like mom was around. Dad gave wisdom and clarity, but sometimes with long lectures which came across as critical. 
  • Macy shared: Our lives felt so busy and full, and she didn’t feel looked at unless there was a problem.

The last question we asked the girls was, “How has growing up as a Manning helped you become who you are today?” 

  • It helped me understand that life was not just about me, and it gave me a desire to serve others. 
  • It made me confident because my identity was grounded in Jesus. My earthly parents loved me like a princess. 
  • Our ceilings got higher and higher because we built on each others’ successes. 
  • Having so many siblings helped us sharpen each other. Each example that one of our sibling’s set gave us something to strive for.

All families are unique and different so the things our girls shared about their childhood won’t be the same for your family. But it can show you that you are raising little people that will be full, grown people with good (and maybe some bad) memories of their childhood. You don’t have to be perfect parents. God uses you in spite of your imperfections to point your family to HIM. Encourage your kids to love Jesus. Keep the main thing the main thing.

Hopefully, after reading/listening, you will go after the good things of childhood and release to the Lord all the things they may interpret as bad. Be encouraged – building a great childhood for your kids is one of the best and most important things we get to do on this earth. 

If you have a question or a parenting issue that you’d like us to discuss in a future podcast, email us at [email protected].

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