Parenting is difficult. Compare it to a rollercoaster or a marathon, whatever your reflection; It is perhaps one of the toughest jobs God has delivered to us. For we reap what we sew; no pressure. In contrast, it is also a blessing and such a privilege. Proverbs 22:6 tells us: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Children are our future, there is no doubt. And in this hectic, tangled, and hyper-connected world we live in, parenting can seem more confusing than ever. God gave us this task to ensure our future, so hold it with responsible hands, careful hearts, and intention.
What does it mean to be a purposeful parent? I asked my children and their answers reflected their development. My oldest told me that the most important aspect of being a “good” parent is Trust (he wants me to trust him so he can relish in more independent adventures), my middle child said Listening (she wants me to hear her as she enters this chapter of puberty and raging emotions), and my youngest in all his raw innocence, replied Love. Love is all we need. You’re right, kiddo. Because, Love births all the tools required for purposeful parenting. The tools are in our hearts. We just have to take time to listen to them.
So, is there a checklist or something that can help maneuver us through the passage of parenting? An in-depth one would take a life-time. Parenting, of course, is not a one-sized fits all journey; it is as unique as your children. We can, however, apply some guidelines to help us navigate and direct our sails. Do not strife, an overwhelming checklist isn’t necessary if you are purposefully parenting through a lens of Love.
Strive to create healthier relationships through deeper bonds with your children. Talk about difficult things and make sure you swap roles and listen to your child. Really listen and acknowledge. Their concerns may seem minute to us, but to them, they are monumental. Listening is more important than advice, sometimes.
Confidence ushers in discernment. Praise your children, even for the smallest achievements. Build them up. In addition, talk to them about their family history and expose roots, so they feel like they belong. Never forget to pray with them and talk to them about God daily. The strength they gain from this confidence, alongside their faith, will make taking the right path easier when faced with peer pressure or difficult choices.
Reactive parenting leads to exhaustion. Set goals. Real concrete and achievable goals gained through intentional parenting. What do you want to achieve as a parent? What do I want to see from my child in school, in extracurriculars, around the house? And write them down. Specificity is key here. It eliminates guessing and provides security for your child so they understand expectations.
Here’s an oxymoron. Parenting is serious, so be silly. Yes, please do, because silliness is serious business when it comes to parenting. In stressful situations, a bit of comic relief offers comfort, it also strengthens bonds. A bit of laughter goes a long way.
Providing consistency in schedule and lifestyle diminishes anxieties your child may acquire. Providing the basics; shelter, food, sleep, and support seem inane to even acknowledge, but they are exponentially important when delivered consistently. Structure nurtures stability; which helps with a child’s self-confidence. Take heed in your child’s online explorations. Disregarding their exposure when not developmentally ready is a recipe for loads of undoing and premature conversations before developmentally prepared.
Parenting matures with your child. As your child grows and changes, your parenting should adapt. Be purposeful and intentional in all aspects of parenting; making sure you are always exemplifying empathy. Last, parent out of Love. Do not strive for perfection. Love is imperfect. In addition, reward growth and direction rather than results. This will help your child own their mistakes.
Purposefully parent out of a Lens of Love.
The Bible says “that God is Love. We are called to love one another. Paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 it reminded us that, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth…” The Word of God is the perfect source to understand love. God’s word remains a steadfast source of divine wisdom. Trust in it. When you become exhausted, flip the script and purposefully parent by being proactive in your intentions; and always through a lens of love. “Let all that you do be done with love,” (1 Corinthians 16:14).
Brittany Stewart, an accomplished writer and educator, draws inspiration from her 23-year marriage and upbringing near Lake Tahoe in Verdi, Nevada, now residing in Tucson, Arizona. With her Bachelor’s degree in Education, emphasizing Native American Literature and Journalism, Brittany is a multifaceted professional who is also a Licensed Massage Therapist. She is deeply involved in Tucson’s homeschooling community, leading a homeschool group, teaching dance, and offering art classes. She and her family have a homestead in Southern Arizona, where her husband hunts and she tends to the garden, emphasizing the importance of God and family in her life while continually seeking adventure through her travels.