Staying Focused as a Parent

I believe that I have many callings in life, but my greatest burden is shepherding my children into a place where they love and serve the Lord despite my shortcomings.

Angie Smith

As parents we need to be at the front lines for our children as their number one advocate and protector. Taking the first blows as situations come charging at our kids, whether it be filtering what they hear, protecting their steps, or nurturing their heart we need to invest in our kids with passion and conviction, teaching them what true love is and learning it ourselves. There are few days that go by that some foreign food substance hasn’t lodged itself on my shirt, or that the coffee pot has run dry way too early; yet, we need to plow forward. Not because it’s easy, but because we love our kids, and we are going to be held accountable for how we parented them.

How to Stay Focused as a Parent

Pray for your kids and with your kids

You can’t go wrong with prayer. Ask the One person who holds the world in His hands to protect and guide your children and thank Him for doing so. My dad would always say I had a guardian angel with an ulcer,  (Ps. 91:11) I don’t doubt it! I think my kids are following after my footsteps. I watch in amazement that kids make it to adulthood.

Here’s a cool little prayer calendar to get you started.

Spend time encouraging not discouraging your kids

What words are coming out of your mouth? Are they edifying and encouraging? Even as an adult if someone says YOU ARE a certain characteristic, whether it is true in that moment or not, it is easy to start defining yourself in that way with the inability to change. However, when someone says YOU ARE BEING a certain character flaw and shows a way to work on it, it is easier to isolate that occurrence rather than identify yourself as it. The reverse is true with positive comments. If someone reinforces your positive attributes with  encouraging words, it is easier to start believing them and uphold them as you desire to maintain that positive label. The same goes for our kids.

Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Prov 18:21

Be mindful of the priorities you want them to have.

Sometimes our priorities don’t match our actions; we need to make a conscience effort to make sure they align. If you want them to learn about God’s word, teach them. If you want them to do nice things for others, start introducing times during the week that allow them that opportunity.  As parents we are responsible for getting the ball rolling. We have a huge responsibility for setting the course for our kids.

Cultivate your kids interests

My three kids are vastly different, even down to their hair color. It is exciting as a parent to watch their interests develop and realize how much is God given from birth. My son Timothy loves to draw and be creative. I can listen to him for hours wondering what concoction he will create whether written or built. My daughter Isabella, our little princess, loves animals, and giving to others and generally loves to do these things with a dress and appropriate accessories. My easy going son Jayden loves sports. He is rarely seen without a ball in his hand or kicking one with his foot. He started palming a kid’s ball at 6 months, even before he could crawl. I kid you not. Now that I have focused in on my kid’s strengths, I can cultivate them. What tools can I equip them with to go the next step with their interests and skills?

To summarize…

1. Address your child’s strength 2. Equip him/her with the right tools 3. encourage.

Remember they are your priority

Sometimes, even as moms, we look for things that validate our purpose. We grow insecure with our parenting, realizing that perfection is not in the game plan, so we seek out another “purpose” that we can have control over and possibly receive some long overdue compliments. We can’t let other things become our priority when our children really need to be. They are right there looking at us for guidance; wanting us to fill their need for love. Am I saying you can’t have a hobby… Of course not! But be mindful that your extra curricular activities are not interfering with how you are parenting your kids.

Set the tone for your kids

You can choose who you want your kids to be around. Whether it’s your friends or theirs, try to surround them with people who will encourage your values. Don’t be afraid to speak up if someone is doing something contrary to what you want around your kids. Your kids are important enough to be a little uncomfortable.

Fight for your kids

Show your kids how precious and valuable they are. Go to bat for your kids. Laugh with your kids. Love your kids in actions and words, and as you rest your head at night, be at peace with how you parented. And when you make a mistake, say sorry, move on and start a fresh.

He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them,  “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.

Mark 9:36-37