|Parents want to feel like they have done well in the raising of their children, but sometimes the metrics for that determination can get a little wonky. We base our success on their behavior or on whether they are like us, and can feel shame when they don’t measure up to . . . our standards. Sometimes rediscovering our parenting goals can help us to leave a better legacy in parenting than we first thought possible.
Rediscovering Your Parenting Goals: Parenting for Discipleship
We all know the knowing glances that parents receive when one of their progenies has not performed up to the family name. Shame. Judgment. Disappointment. Parents can then become engrossed in trying to straighten up the behavior of their children but miss the heart. Where did we go wrong?
Parenting is not about having perfect children. It is about imparting Christ’s heart to them and showing them Who to go to when they make mistakes. It is about teaching them how to study and apply Scripture to their lives, so they have a plumb line that is greater than just our expectations. And the behavior of our children is not about us. Their failure is not ours. But how we respond to that failure can help them to overcome or to be stagnant in their challenging moments of this life.
Rediscovering Your Parenting Goals: Parenting for IndependenceThe Parent-child relationship goes through many varied seasons that should all be moving toward healthy independence—equipping the next generation with the tools to be able to catch fish themselves, rather than having them be perpetually dependent upon us. But how this is accomplished requires letting go of our expectations that their level of independence should match ours when we were their age.
Sometimes rather than telling our children what they should do and then becoming frustrated when they don’t take our advice, we should ask wise questions to get them to come to their own conclusion. Jesus did the same to us. Questions provoke independence and help those around you to take up their responsibility.
Rediscovering Your Parenting Goals: Parenting for Relationship
Relationship should not be based on a child’s performance or success. It is easier to get along with someone who has a similar mindset as view as us, but not taking their decisions personally when they don’t line up with ours helps to keep the relationship intact and flourishing.
When our children choose to come back to us with problems, we know they have found us to be a safe space. Safe meaning non-judgmental, non-controlling, and in a place where we are no longer trying to parent them anymore.
Rediscovering Your Parenting Goals: Parenting for Character
This is a hard one. Character is earned and born often through adversity. Our children cannot have godly character just by identifying with ours, (which hopefully we pursue daily). They have to have character and fortitude to be able to choose wisely. Wisdom transfer is not a once-and-done proposition, but it is built into the fabric of our lives and intentionally sown.
Putting our children into positions where they have to demonstrate integrity and coaching them toward what integrity looks like and modeling it consistently in front of them from an early age helps to establish a culture of integrity. Small choices in everyday life add up. If you don’t use foul language, why would you watch it or listen to it? We can be fooled ourselves and lulled into a lesser standard than Christ gave to us. But when we seek to be like Christ and impart that pursuit to our children, God will shape them into His image, which is a far better image than being like us.
Yours for a Thriving Legacy,