When we were raising our kids, we’d motivate them with the Good-Better-Best principle. It became a teaching method that they could apply to any situation they encountered, regardless of their age. Basically it both applauded and stretched them.
On our way to a friend’s house for dinner, for example, you might coach your eight-year-old like this: “When you’ve finished eating, if you say, ‘May I be excused?’ that would be good. But if you were to say, ‘Thank you for dinner. I really liked the chicken. May I be excused?’ then that would be better. And if you were to say, ‘Thank you for the dinner. I really liked the chicken. Do you need any help cleaning up?’ then that would be best.”
It is a method designed to continually raise the bar and help your children learn how to improve. On your way home, you can praise them on a job well done.
Part of your child’s success will depend on your preparation. If before you go into a setting, you say, “Tonight let’s work on being a servant,” you can bring it to the forefront of their mind. It might take a little extra time on your part, but if you target the heart first, then right behavior becomes a natural outgrowth. Parenting is an ongoing opportunity for stretching and maturing your children.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ- to the glory and praise of God.