When the New England Patriots (or your favourite team ) run onto the football field they have a purpose in mind.
They are prepared.
They have a game plan on how to win.
Almost every activity we are part of needs proper preparation and execution of a plan. Without a plan you cannot win. Benjamin Franklin spoke about it this way; “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”
Parenting needs much more preparation time than any sport or activity. The fact that you are dealing with an immortal soul should drive parents to prepare for this role above and beyond anything else that they hold precious. Parenting is preparing a baby to grow up in the admonition and love for the Lord so they can become responsible adults in the community and viable citizens of heaven.
Plans should not be formulated on the fly. If you have children you should have a plan in place for as many options as a child has in their repertoire of complaining, whining, lying, sibling rivalry and any other conflict that their young lives may throw at you. Your playbook should be written down, in agreement with your spouse, and prayerfully carried through. Parenting is not “in the moment” since it needs to be less emotional and extremely intentional. Planning takes the emotion out of the equation and allows you to be in control no matter how out of control the situation might seem.
You are out shopping and your child is making a scene… what’s your plan?
You are eating dinner and your child is fooling around… what’s your plan?
You are in church and your child is running around and will not stop… what’s your plan?
Your child bites another child… what’s your plan?
Your child won’t clean up after themselves… what’s your plan?
Your child refuses to listen… what’s your plan?
I think you get it. Every day you need to be adding to your playbook because the seasons of life are also changing. It has been said ”if the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal.” Be glad when your child challenges you. This is a moment you can exercise your game plan to win their hearts and form their future.
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I saw these words on the bumper of a van: “Mom’s Taxi”. As a parent, I understand the attempt at humour. As an educator, I am trying not to scream out at all levels why this is so wrong. To debase the parental role to mere transportation at the whim or desire of the child is appalling. Ok, before you think I can’t take a joke, please bear with me. Let’s split this phrase two ways. If it is sarcastic humour, then I am all in. If this is a complaining type of humour, then you, my dear driver, are in a heap of self-made pain. Is this what you signed up for when you had children?
Parenting is a focused, intentional activity at producing well-developed future adults. You have them for a few years, and out they go to create their own living environs. The time spent with you is all about training. How many hours are you spending on reading, listening, and learning about how to best parent in a Christ-like manner?
Training to Understand Their Place Under God
There is no higher activity than spending quality time leading a child through the scriptures, and allowing them to understand their need for a Saviour and how that will change their life focus. It’s not all about them! God’s command to children is to obey their parents. (Eph. 6:1-3)
Training to Understand Their Place in the Family
You are the adult, and by this title, you are responsible for the direction and care of the family unit. Children become what you allow them to be. Think about that comment long and hard. They are not the centre of this group, but the participants.
Training to Understand Their Place in Society
Life is moving so quickly that children are facing culture shock in their own culture. Well-defined home time, that develops community integration skills, is paramount to creating a functional human who needs to join the ever-changing world.
Extracurricular activities that require a mode of transport is often required. However, if you are spending more time as a taxi driver than a loving caring, directing parent, then you have a huge problem. Now is the time to deal with it before it’s too late and they buy their own vehicle, for then you have lost those precious training years forever.
Do want to know another one of my irritating bumper stickers? Maybe another time!
Why am I shocked and scared? I really shouldn’t be, and yet I pen these words with great intent and urgency to parents that allow their children on the internet and social media. All parents. All children.
The proliferating evil, that is so easily available, lurks in every keystroke that your child makes. As well, the naivety of parents that think we have it handled and that “my child is responsible”, concerns me.
We need to think again about some of these preconceived/developed notions. Unless you monitor every website and app every day, you are losing the battle!
Many of us know the more common areas of concern: amount of time spent on the internet, chat rooms, or specific programs or apps like Facebook and Instagram.
With the speed of today’s development and the knowledge that many of our own children know more about what is out there than we even do, there are too many unknowns that are difficult to spot or be aware of.
Here is an example:
Musical.ly – an easily obtainable app. Sounds innocuous enough, lovely in fact, but I implore you to read the following article. Every word.It is a journey that will shock you, and make you cry out to God for the purity and protection of your child. I pray it shakes us all to “man our battle stations”.
This article is just the tip of the iceberg. Imagine what else is out there lurking in the shadows to wrestle your children’s mind away from truth and purity. On second thought, don’t imagine - you’ll have nightmares and won’t be able to sleep. Below, you will find more articles that can help educate you on internet dangers and provide some ideas/insight on how to respond practically.
Ultimately though, we do need to spend time in prayer, meditate onGod’s Word, and depend on the Almighty Lord to help us raise God-loving and fearing children who have a heart of holiness.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
I want to write a book. The title will be "Children need more Scars" Copies will go on sale after I retire and have enough time to put it together. In the meantime I want to propose to all our parents that children need more real life experience that tests them and puts trials in their face. The generation that is being nicknamed "snowflakes" is a result of pampering and protection that is unheard of in my lifetime. The removal of tribulations and adversity is not good parenting or biblical. Rather it is the opposite. When you read passages such as James 1:2 or 1 Peter 1:6-7 you quickly realize that God has placed trials in our paths as teaching tools to develop our faith. As good parents, we need our children to face as many challenges as possible that are not dangerous or immoral, but are opportunities to face and overcome with biblical and parental assistance. To wish that they never face an emotional or physical scar is to remove the experience they need to battle through life's many storms and have the fortitude to show God's grace through it all.
Dr. Mosbacker, a prominent blogger in the Christian school community has written an excellent article on this issue as well. Pick up his comments by clicking here.
So when trials come, join with the Apostle James and "count it all joy" as God will show up and comfort and guide your children through it.