Our children are “future adults” and we want to parent them for “future success”. How can we influence their ability to be successful in their relationships and chosen careers as they grow up? Research says out of all the things our children need to know as they grow that contributes directly to their career competence are their relationship skills.
Relationship skills are both traits and behaviors that enable someone to interact well with others. They inspire good communication and conflict resolution. They enhance positive teamwork and can predict sustainability in a job. Relationship skills make both the one who has them and the one who receives them happier to be doing what they are doing.
- Relationship skills aren’t just important to career success, they are important to our faith formation.
- The godly way of looking at relationship skills is to see them through the lens of the “one another” verses we find in Scripture; a relationship that values “one another” is a relationship that honors God.
- The term “one another” is found 100 times in the New Testament and 59 times refers to how we treat one another within God’s Kingdom.
- How we care for one another not only allows our relationships in our careers and homes to flourish, but enables us to be a witness to the world of our transforming faith.
- God does not suggest “one another” conduct, but demands it. They are imperative verbs – commands, not suggestions.
- Just a few examples of “One Another” verses that personify good relationship skills are:
- Be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10)
- Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10)
- Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16)
- Build up one another (Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
- Accept one another (Romans 15:7)
- Admonish one another (Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16)
- Care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)
- Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
- Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
- Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:2, 32; Colossians 3:13)
- Be patient with one another (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13)
Dear Reader – consider looking up all the “One Anothers” in Scripture and put them on your refrigerator, in your car, or on the mirror in the bathroom – anywhere you and your children will see them on a regular basis. How do we teach our children to walk by faith AND help prepare them for the future? “One Another” living! (also known as relationship skills)
- Relationship skills are personified in good communication. In John Maxwell’s book, “Everyone Communicates, Not Everyone Connects”, John proposes that we need to do more than just talk to one another, we need to connect. Career experts would agree – many companies will look for those who can relate well with others over a college graduate who has a high GPA but doesn’t have strong relationship skills.
What are some of the points John Maxwell makes in his book that we can pass on to our children? Here are 5 of his principles to get you started in thinking connection, not just communication.
- Think “One Another” always. (Maturity is the ability to see and act on behalf of others.)
- Connecting with others requires effort. Connecting requires initiative (go first); clarity (prepared); patience (slow down); selflessness (give); and stamina (recharge).
- Work hard with enthusiasm. (Vision without passion is a picture without possibilities.)
- Be a person of integrity. (People ask three questions about their leaders: Do they care for me? Can they help me? Can I trust them?)
- Prepare and don’t give up. (Preparation yields confidence and passion yields conviction.)
Dear Reader, I have heard it said, “The days are long, the years are short” and I believe it’s true. In the midst of parenting, it can feel exhausting and all-consuming. But before we know it, we are sending them out into the world. Remember to keep the end goals in mind as you parent today. Work toward who your child is becoming and invest in their ability to relate well with others.
Blessings to you this week as you parent with a purpose to equip your child for their future adult life.
Always yours truly, Elizabeth