Life can be so distracting for me, if I want to get something done, I have to be very intentional and deliberate. If I don’t, I look up and two years have gone by. That’s why I have to write things down to stay halfway focused. And, it’s as if I mean business if I write it down, even if it’s on the back of a napkin in pencil.
Not long ago a young mom asked me, “If you could only offer one helpful parenting hint what would it be?” Questions like that make me nervous. If someone tries something I suggest and it backfires, I usually pick up the blame.
I had to think for a minute. By the look on her face when I finally answered, I think she was expecting something like “have the kids in bed by 7:30 at night” or “be in church every Sunday.” Here’s what I told her, “Parent with a plan.” She looked at me like I was explaining some algebraic equation.
“What do you mean? Can I buy it at the bookstore,” she asked seriously?
“I’m saying you have to be strategic,” I smiled. “When our kids were little, I started a list of things I wanted them to know and understand before they left home. As they got older the list got longer. I ended up with 15 character qualities and responsibilities I felt were important. I kept the list in the drawer of my bedside table and I’d pull it out every now and then and review it to see how things were going and where I might need to be more intentional. It was also a good time for me to take inventory of my own life”
“Humm,” she said, as she pulled out a pieces of paper and pen. “What’s on the list?”
“Your list needs to be a list of what you would like to see in your kids lives as they launch out into the world. Mine wasn’t instant and comprehensive, over time it developed and grew,” I explained. “It’s not really a list you can check off each item when completed because all through life we go forwards and backwards and sometimes sideways. What’s important is your awareness to be intentional with parenting.”
“Oh, she said,” as if I had given her a truck load to think about.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
~ Proverbs 22:6