Friday, August 21, 2009

Thoughts on Parenting Deliberately

When I was eight months pregnant with Connor, a colleague of Scott's and his family came to our new home for dinner. We had moved from Colorado Springs only a few months before and were trying to get to know people in this area. We (and our families) had worked really hard on our new home to prepare for Connor's arrival. Connor's room had a blue sky ceiling and blue and yellow walls with a classic Winnie the Pooh border. Grammy had made curtains and a wonderful quilt for his bed and the room was perfect. Clothes had been washed and hung, bed made, stuffed animals carefully placed, glider in the corner with a delightful Pooh bear lamp and a table to hold water and books while nursing, in short all that was missing was a baby. (okay, I admit it was a little obsessive but that's just how I am!) We invited this family to see the baby's room. Promptly their 3 yr old daughter scaled the crib and began throwing everything out of the crib. She grabbed one of the Winnie the Pooh's and declared she was taking it home. The parents said, "Now, honey, you can't that's not yours". The girl starting throwing a fit, IN CONNOR'S CRIB. The parents said to us, "We'll just leave her there for awhile". In disbelief, I said, "No, I don't think so." I grabbed the girl out of the crib and took the bear out of her hands. The parents stood by and did nothing. I was not a happy pregnant woman (not that I was ever a really happy pregnant woman, but still). They reluctantly grabbed their still screaming daughter and made their exit. I fumed and fretted over this for hours as I put Connor's room back into pristine condition. I finally came to the realization that I had been bad mouthing this little girl and in reality it was the parent's fault. They had allowed this behavior to continue and had done nothing to stop it. That little girl was only doing what all of us in our sin nature do, namely put ourselves and our needs first. It was the parents responsibility to train this child out of this behavior. I came to decision that day that I would do everything in my power to NEVER have my children thought and spoken of in those negative terms by anyone. It was probably one of the most pivotal parenting moments of my early Mom days. It started me on a path of watching good parenting moments of others and trying to copy them (and find out what books they read) and watching bad parenting moments and deciding not to do that! It made me realize that I had to be deliberate in parenting. I had to have a plan and had to put that plan into proctive. It was our job and responsibility for this beloved child.

With that in mind, I am going to encourage all of you to make goals for your children and then do whatever you can to help them to accomplish them.

Here's one of my earlier posts on goals and family purpose:

Recently, we were challenged to make sure we have a working family purpose. I thought I would share what we've learned and how to make a family purpose. Oh, and goals for each of the kids too! The examples are our family purpose and objectives and the kids goals. My poor kids don't know how often I've used them as the example of good and bad behavior! I'll have to raise their allowance.

Family Purpose

Write an overall purpose statement for your family, making sure it reflects the morals and values of your family. Start with “Our purpose as a family is....” Make your statement as precise and simple as possible.
Example : “Our purpose as a family is to bring glory to God through the love and choices we make as individuals and corporately as a family.”

State in a phrase or sentence an objective in fulfilling your purpose statement. Begin your statement with “to...” and complete your statement in such a way that you would see your purpose statement fulfilled.
Example : “To raise our children to be Godly young men and women filled with integrity and joy, who will be leaders for Christ in their homes, churches and country.”
Carefully consider individual goals for each family member. We make goals in three areas, spiritual, personal and academic (for our children) each year and have three goals per area..
Example : For our oldest son, here are the goals he is currently working on
Spiritual – self control over his emotions and tongue Gal 5:22-23
Personal – maintain responsibility over belongings (coats, piano bags, sports equipment) Eph 6:1-2
Academic – have multiplication and division tables memorized through 12

Carefully consider these goals and make sure they meet these criteria:
1.Are they biblical?
2.Do I have a verse or moral reason why to support these?
3.Do they fit out purpose as a family?
4.Do they bring glory to God or glory to us?

Post these in a spot where you can see them regularly and pick a goal to work on weekly or monthly, include your children and them pick the goal they want to work on

I hope you can sit down with your spouse and make a family plan. The beginning of school is a great time to do that. We just finished ours and looked over last years and it was really encouraging to note the personal and spiritual growth of the kids. Praise God!


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