Use the 5 A’s when Communicating during the Transition

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

– I John 3:18 NIV

The 5 A’s are part of the suggested strategies of effective classroom management published in a textbook for classroom teachers by author Dr. Linda Albert titled Cooperative Discipline. Cooperative Discipline is a compilation of research based factors, skills and strategies employed by classroom teachers and school community employees who work with children provided to empower teachers, staff and students, along with parents, to develop a hands-joined approach in creating a harmonious classroom/home environment facilitated with mutual respect and cooperation. The 5 A’s are acceptance, affection, affirmation, appreciation and attention. I always believed, after being introduced to Cooperative Discipline as a classroom teacher, that if the strategies suggested for the 5 A’s worked on children who aren’t mine, how much more would they work for the parents of children.

To me, the 5 A’s are love in action. Just as I Corinthians 13 creates an explicit definition for us of what love is (Love is patient and kind, etc.) and I John reminds us that saying ‘I love you,’ and expressing love is two separate concepts of love, the 5 A’s provides steps by which love can be expressed that reinforces the love within the relationship between the parent and their child, or children. Jesus explained to His disciples that one who encounters a person who is willing to lay his life down for the other is a great expression of love. A child, or children, who has a parent, or parents, who consistently humble themselves and take moments out of the mundane of the day to express sincere actions of love, like hug breaks, encounter the great love Jesus talked about with His disciples. The act of laying one’s life down for another begins with humility and ends with sacrifice. Someone who looks not only to their own interests, but also to the interest of others. It is a deliberate action with the intent to build up the other and make a positive contribution into their life without expecting anything in return for the investment made.

During a transition, this could be difficult sometimes, because parent’s minds are occupied with stress, duress and anxiety and how to solve the many challenges faced in dealing with one’s own grief, financial pressures, job security, and other related adult matters that the child, or children can sometimes be inadvertently overlooked. It is safe to say that, during a transition, parents can benefit from the 5 A’s too. Transition or no transition, everyone can benefit from the 5 A’s like everyone could use a hug break! 🙂

Do my children, or my child, feel secure in being accepted for who they are?

When was the last time they received genuine affection from me?

Do I communicate words that affirm them in who they are in a positive way consistently?

What has my child, children done lately, consistently, that they should be appreciated for?

How often do I take time to invest with them centered around what interests them that expresses to them I am giving them my undivided attention?

It is never too late to start lavishing our children with a heavy dosage of 5 A’s, because these are legitimate human needs we never outgrow. Recently, as we were leaving out to celebrate my son’s birthday with other family members, my daughter chose to leave her math textbook she recently received after I expressed my desire for us to share this time as a family. She was insistent before we left with a repetitive barrage of pleases to take it, but understanding she would have to leave it in the car once we entered the home of her aunt and uncle, she resigned to leave it behind. I thanked her for making the choice to leave it to reinforce my appreciation for her making the choice to share her time and attention in celebrating her brother’s birthday with the family. My mother has watched me in action with my children and affirms me in my parenting sharing with others her appreciation of how she sees me using a soft tone consistently when correcting and encouraging my children during challenging moments of misconduct. Along with hug breaks, let’s revolutionize the world around us with the 5 A’s!

May God bless you and help you make use of His wisdom, patience and love to build up your family as you transition towards resiliency.

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