I am not even close to having everything figured out as a parent. One of God’s biggest blessings in my life over the last 15 years however has been working with hundreds of students and families as a junior high teacher, coach, children’s pastor, youth pastor, and lead pastor. Throughout this I’ve seen some great parents and family systems, and I’ve also seen some pretty poor ones too. I’m grateful for this perspective. Here are five principles I am committed to and believe are applicable across the board for all parents:
1- Pray For, With or Over Your Kids Everyday— Honestly, why wouldn’t you? Thank God for your kids. Ask for wisdom in relating with and raising them. Pray for their growth, development and protection. You love them, are thankful for them and know that raising them is a challenge you don’t want to do alone. Involve God.
2-Spend At Least 5 Minutes Of Unique And Focused One-On-One Time With Everyone In Your House Daily— Life is busy and oftentimes we operate on coast. We all know that if we fail to pay attention to a plant or pet it would wilt, die, run away or act out. We also know how the opposite is true. If we make small investments or deposits into a savings account or relationship, over time it pays dividends. These same principles are true with relationships in your house, especially with your kids. Invest in them daily.
3- When You Cheer For Your Kids, Cheer For Their First Name, Not Their Last Name— My oldest daughter has no interest in playing basketball at this time in her life, and I’m OK with that……now. It wasn’t always this way however. When she was born, much to my wife’s chagrin, I placed a basketball in her crib. I had plans for her. Now, I’ve come to realize that I want to help her become who SHE wants to be and do what SHE enjoys and is passionate about. I cheer for her.
4- Don’t Give Up What’s Unique To You For What Someone Else Will Do— Your only unique role in life is probably that of being called mom or dad. You spouse can find another mate, you company can replace you. Your friends can develop other friendships. Only you are the birth parent or the influencing parent in your kid’s lives. Your biggest contribution might not be what you do but who you raise. Don’t sacrifice your time and relationship with your kids for what someone else can do.
5- Discipline With The Goal Of Preserving Your Relationship, Not Your Reputation— The primary goal of discipline is to teach, modify, correct or refocus actions/behavior without sacrificing the relationship. Your kids might not always understand in the moment, but discipline in such a way that you do not destroy your relationship. And, discipline in such a way that the end goal is what is best for your kids, regardless of what others might think.