Do you know what goals & priorities to have when parenting intentionally?
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Most parents have vague hopes, dreams, and goals for child-rearing, but haven’t really sat down and made a specific list of their goals.
Parenting intentionally is hard if we don’t know what our goals and priorities are.
In Heb. 11: 23-27 we have a picture of the power of faith in parents who had goals for raising their son.
The parents of Moses had a VISION.
“By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.” (verse 23)
They saw that he was a proper child. (Or not ordinary) This means that they had faith to believe that God had a purpose for Moses’ life.
Because they had vision and saw that God had a plan for Moses, they set out to raise him right. They had goals and knew what their priorities were.
Children are entrusted to parents by God (Psalm 127:3). They belong to God and He has given them into our care, thus creating specific stewardship responsibilities. God has a plan and purpose for each child. Each child is a life from God that is placed in a specific family as a part of that plan. A child needs physical care, but more importantly he needs training for his soul. Parents are responsible to train children according to God’s standards. It is, therefore, the primary duty of parents to guide their children’s lives for the purposes of God, and to train them as He would have them trained. ~Richard Fugate
What is YOUR vision for your children? Moses turned out the way he did because his parents had the vision they did.
Often we lack in our vision, but as Christian parents, we need to remember that God has something special for each one of our children. Having a vision enables us to clearly see what our goals and priorities should be.
Goals & Priorities of Intentional Parenting:
1. START EARLY WITH A LIFESTYLE DESIGNED WITH PURPOSE.
Due to the vision that Moses’ parents had, they started young. After hiding Moses for 3 months, Jochabed then offered to be the nurse for Moses so that she could teach him and prepare him for the purpose God had for him.
It’s important to decide when your kids are still babies, where you want them to be in 18 years. Do you have a vision for your children, and goals for training them? What steps will you take to accomplish those goals in your training?
This was one of the things we failed to do with our older few children. We didn’t think ahead in much depth.
Our hope was to raise good kids who loved God and served Him. However, we didn’t plan or even think about how we were going to get them to that point.
When they were little, it was easy to correct them when they were unkind, or practice helping them learn and remember to obey. As they got a little bit older though, some of the “problems” that came up were more complex, and at times we didn’t know how to handle them, or how to respond.
Eventually we realized that if we started early, and steered them in a certain direction, it would help them avoid some of the pitfalls that we had let them fall into.
So our older kids struggled with some things that our younger ones didn’t, simply because we had a plan to prevent some of those things, and started teaching and training before they were a problem.
Our mistake with the older ones was that we lacked a clearly defined goal for their training.
“One of the biggest problems for parents today is that they work hard at training and instructing their children about the Lord and His ways, but lack a clearly defined goal for that training. They know they want their children to know and to have godly character, but they are not sure what the final product is supposed to look like.
It is as though they are baking a dessert, yet don’t know if it is an ice cream cake or a peach cobbler, and they keep throwing in sweet ingredients, hoping the results will be edible.
It would be far better for parents to define their goals and then create a plan to accomplish it. There is truth to the saying, “If you aim at nothing, you will always hit it.
Christian parents must have a clearly defined target for their children’s growth.
In order to determine if you are accomplishing God’s goals for child rearing you must first identify them. ” (Child Training Tips, by Reb Bradley)
2. Teach your children what success is by God’s standards
Teaching our children to look for success according to God’s standards is the best start we can give them – for now and eternity.
We have a wonderful opportunity to teach our children by example, the real meaning of success.
If we as parents can grasp the concept that success is knowing and living in the will of God, and not in having possessions, social standing, or even a good education, then we are ready to train our children for successful living.
The key to prosperity and success for our kids is found in Joshua 1:8:
”This book of the law shall not depart out of they mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day & night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for THEN thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then shalt thou have good success.”
If they mediate in and do what God’s Word says, God will make their way prosperous and they’ll have good success.
So everything we do needs to be built upon the foundation of God’s Word. We want them to be in God’s Word daily, and as a result of that, they’ll learn what His Word says about success.
This is what the next step is all about.
3. Build the faith of your children
God says that the most important thing should be building FAITH. We are instructed to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition (instruction) of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
Building your children’s faith involves teaching your children about God and His Word, and helping them develop a love for God, along with a sincere desire to please Him.
How can we accomplish this?
- As parents, we must focus on God.
We must love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and with all our might. Loving God causes our thoughts to be centered on Him and His Word. When the Word of God is the focal point of our thoughts, the teaching of God’s message to our children becomes the natural outpouring of our thought-life.
It has been said that faith is caught, not taught. If we want to give our children a lasting and sincere faith in Christ, then we must first have it ourselves.
- Train them to live a genuinely Godly, spiritual Christian life. That is impossible apart from the Word of God.
According to Joshua 1:8, the point of going to the Word of God daily, is that we observe or come to actually DO what it says.
The emphasis throughout the Word of God is to train our children from their infancy to serve the Lord; to train them on purpose to be righteous, to train them specifically to be godly, to particularly train them to be disciplined; to train them to do the things they ought to do; to train them to walk in the spirit. The clear emphasis in the Word of God is not a negative “thou shalt not”. Rather, it is positive. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Prov. 22:6 The goal of every Christian parent ought to be that his children grow up to be godly, not just good. ~David Sorenson – Training Your Children To Turn Out Right
3. Remember your purpose
When we start our parenting journey, we are usually excited and passionate about it, and have at least a bit of a vision of how we want our children to turn out, or how we want to teach and train them.
Often over time we get overwhelmed with all the schedule decisions, what outside activities to be involved in, etc. It’s a common thing to get overwhelmed, discouraged, or totally off track from where we started.
The key to dealing with the discouragement is remembering your purpose. Purpose is defined as an aim or a goal; an intention.
What is the purpose of your parenting?
Here are some of the most common purposes we probably all share:
- We realize we are ultimately responsible and accountable for child training and instruction. (Deuteronomy 6)
- We are seeking to train not just the mind, but also the heart and soul. True education integrates faith in Jesus Christ with the content of learning.
- We desire to bond with our children, and keep their hearts.
- We want to teach kids our values, and help keep them pure.
I’m sure you have many other goals and purposes, but the key thing as a Christian parent is having an active purpose and philosophy of teaching and training your children.
“The emphasis throughout the Word of God is to train our children from their infancy to serve the Lord; to train them on purpose to be righteous; to train them specifically to be godly; to particularly train them to be disciplined; to train them to do the things they ought to do; to train them to walk in the spirit. The goal of every Christian parent ought to be that his children grow up to be godly, not just good.” (From the book by Dave Sorenson: TRAINING OUR CHILDREN TO TURN OUT RIGHT.)
6. Think about the final product.
This point kind of goes back to our first point – what is our purpose, or what are our goals? What do we want to see in our kids as a result of our teaching and training?
“How will God characterize the lives of our children someday? Would to God it will be said that our children did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of their lives. God has promised to bless the righteous. I long for God’s blessing on my children. -~Dave Sorenson – Training Our Children to Turn Out Right
Doesn’t that sum up the goal of intentional parenting well? It is my prayer that our kids will love God and His Word, and receive His blessings as they walk in obedience to His Word.
Today’s intentional parenting challenge action steps are simple:
1. Write down your vision for parenting.
2. Based on your vision, make a list of your parenting goals.
3. From the list of your parenting goals, make a list of your priorities.
4. Choose ONE of your priorities and start making it part of your daily routine.
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