Here’s a few things we know will always be true about you as a parent:
a) You will get tired.
b) You will struggle with what you should do in a number of situations.
c) Your kids will not always behave exactly the way you want.
d) You will stay awake sometimes, worrying about them.
e) You will wonder, more than you should, if you’re a good parent.
But, we think there are five principles that will help you navigate through a variety of different seasons. And that if you begin to instill them into your parenting, your relationship with your children, and with the other people they need in their lives, will move in a better direction to parent beyond your own capacity.
We want to encourage you to establish a lifestyle as a parent where you…
1) WIDEN THE CIRCLE
Regardless of your stage of parenting, here’s a promise: A time will come when your children will need another adult in their lives besides you. God never intended life to be lived in isolation, and what’s true of individuals is also true of families. We have been called to live as part of a much wider circle, and God engineered community to help all of us parent beyond our capacity.
So, invite others to invest in your children! Why not connect them with an age-appropriate small group here at Bethany through our Kids or Youth ministries? Your sons and daughters will then have other voices to help shape and determine the direction of their lives.
2) IMAGINE THE END
Most parents can’t give their children a lavish inheritance, but every parent will leave a personal legacy. With the excess that surrounds most of us, a lot of families get sidetracked from what really matters. We become so preoccupied with giving kids an inheritance that we forget the significance of leaving a legacy.
Sometimes I just have to be reminded that what I give TO my children or what I do FOR my children is not as important as what I leave IN them. So, focus your energy and effort on the issues that will make a lasting impact.
3) FIGHT FOR THE HEART
Create a culture of unconditional love in your home to fuel the emotional and moral health of your children. It’s so easy for us to make the rules more important than the relationship. It’s in the tone of our voice, our body language, and our eyes. If we are not careful, disappointment in our kids’ behaviour can be translated into their hearts as rejection. The truth is, our teens will always challenge the rules and debate our reasoning, but we should strive to parent in a way that they can never question how much we love them.
4) CREATE A RHYTHM
Tap into the power of quality moments together, and build a sense of purpose through your everyday experiences. Is creating a rhythm about quality time together, or is it more about the quantity of time together? We believe it’s about looking for ways to increase the quantity of quality time. Normal activities begin to take on a sense of purpose when we look to take the everyday and inject the sacred into it!
5) MAKE IT PERSONAL
There’s a crucial link that exists between your ability to parent and your personal growth. This parenting value is going to challenge you as a parent in a way the other values don’t. This one will benefit your kids, for sure, but it’s not directly about them, it’s about you. In a very real way, making it personal will help every other step you take as a parent. Allow your kids to see how you strive to grow, so they can understand how to confront their own limitations, and pursue character and faith.
These are principles Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof have written about in Parenting Beyond Your Capacity and are core to the content written in the blogs of our Parent Life newsletter. You can subscribe to that here.
We’d love to hear from you! Which one of these principles resonates with you most? Which one do you have the most difficulty putting into practice?