As parents, we are bombarded with information on how to be a good parent. It’s overwhelming. Society tells us. Our kids tell us. Other people tell us. It is easy to feel like a failure, even when you give everything you have. We need to quiet out the excess noise, and pare down the hundreds of do’s and do not’s to what really matters. Setting priorities is essential to avoid the extra unnecessary stressors that distract us from what needs to be our focus. Take the reigns on what’s important in parenting and focus less on the frills that won’t make or break your child.
I had the privilege to go on a “Mommy and me” day with Tim. Tim was running all about in a local bouncy house called the Fun-E-Farm. I was sitting and admiring, allowing myself the opportunity to watch him be the lover of life that he is. He was making friends, even in just the hour that we were there; something that takes me a lot longer!
I don’t always have the opportunity to just be still in this season of life, but, as I watched Tim, I pondered what my priorities should be as a parent. One who has lots of responsibilities and little free time. I narrowed it down to three foundational pillars that I want to strive for as a parent.
Teach my kids the truth; and pray for them
I will sound like a broken record if I need to. Teach your kids about Jesus; it will be the best parenting decision you can make. “Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) I have watched lives change, not because of what we can do, but from what God can do in us. We can try to purge ourself and our kids of all visible sins, but it will be a losing battle if God is not present in their life. We are sinful and carnal beings. We can fight and scratch our way to a seemingly clean exterior, but, if God isn’t changing us from the inside out, it is all for naught (Matthew 23:26). We all need a healthy dose of forgiveness, covered with grace and mercy.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4
Hand in hand with teaching your children about God, needs to be praying that these truths you are instilling in them permeates who they are. A changed life for God will reflect in our marriages, friendships, and actions. It will not be a facade, visible for only certain people to see, but rather a life change, knowing full well that God sees us all the time. Whether behind closed doors or in front, we are accountable for our actions.
I am not sure what stage of the game you or your kids are at with your relationship with God, but here are a few good places to help you on your journey.
Let my kids know they are a blessing
Rarely a day goes by that I don’t try to let my kid know that they are a blessing and that they are loved. This is not to toot my own horn, but a very real and pressing reminder on my heart how valuable it is to feel the security and love of our parents. We, as parents, have a huge influence on our kids. I have seen people reject faith in God based on how they perceived their parents faith, and I have seen people seek out God because of the love shown them. Kids need to see our love for God tangibly overflowing to a love for them, or what value would our words about God be? Actions and words need to go hand in hand to be effective. We need to be a positive influence in our children’s lives, offering them love and encouragement daily. Be their biggest supporter, cheerleader, and advocate.
Enjoy my kids
I have 4 kids, each loved, and treasured. Please don’t think my life is perfect, but do you know what? I thoroughly enjoy my kids. I read a great sign on Etsy, “If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart.” We can’t let busyness and tiredness steal our joy away from parenting. Take time to learn about your kids and appreciate them. Kids are so much fun and totally awesome, I promise you. :) One current activity I did was print out the verse Philippians 1:3 “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.” I then wrote my child’s name and a list of attributes that reminded me of that child. I gave them the paper with two hershey kisses on it, so when they woke up they would know I was thinking of them. I appreciated doing this, getting the privilege of writing down the things I love about my kids. What a blessing!
Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.
There are other things that could be on my list, and are on my list, but these were the things that were on the forefront of my mind as I sat and cleared my head about the precious time I have with my kids who I love so much. Strive to live an intentional life, because although there will be days we fail and mess up, we can’t let those days define us. We must press forward, reminding ourselves that our lives matter, and the lives we influence matter too.