Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Consider Your Goals When Parenting

I heard some commentary and questions on a radio program this morning about how busy families are these days. There was some excellent discussion about how parents make decisions regarding how many activities their kids are allowed to pursue.

Now granted, every family is different. One home's guidelines won't necessarily be applicable in another home. Our schedules, demands, number of children and priorities are typically unique. However, there are a few good questions to ask yourself about how you spend your time as a family that can radically impact your parenting.

First of all, do you get to eat an evening meal together on a regular basis? Once a week or now and then isn't good enough. Studies clearly show that families who eat together regularly are healthier, more united and build stronger relationships. Rare meals together means that the paths of the members in your family rarely cross and that will be costly someday. Will our children someday say, "You know, I'm sure glad we spent as little time together as did," or "It was really great not knowing my parents or my sister that well?" I don't think so.

Second, what are the ultimate goals you have for your parenting? What is it you want to teach your children? My hunch is that you want your kids to learn from you what it means to have a great marriage, be good parents, and foster healthy relationships in a home. But if their lives merely revolve around a busy schedule of games, classes and practices, where will they learn the life lessons you want to teach them?

I remember watching a TV news magazine show where a little boy, maybe seven or eight, was playing tennis. The program piece was looking at young children who were being groomed by their parents to be great athletes or top-notch musicians. At one point they showed this little guy sobbing as he sat down by the fence with his tennis racket at his side. Just keeping our kids busy doing things they may not truly care about or have potential to do can harm more than help.

Third, when do our kids have time to just be kids? I'm sure I sound archaic here but kids still need to have fun. Every experience doesn't have to be an educational exercise. Laughter, random play and games are part of life and actually a healthy part of our development.

Fourth, are we teaching our kids to serve and give as well as take? We live in a great country where we have lots of wonderful opportunities to grow, learn and experience things. But there's more to life than just getting things for ourselves. One of the best thing we can teach our kids is to give and serve others. What does your family do for those less fortunate? You can serve at your church, school and in the neighborhood. At holidays give some gifts away instead of only get them for each other. In fact, think about taking your Christmas money one year and coming up with a project to care for others.

My hunch is you will get some of the best "gifts" you've ever gotten and learn more than you've learned in a long time. And you'll have a new perspective on how to use your time from here on out.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

1 comment:

  1. David and I don't have kids yet, but these seem like GREAT principals to remember! Some of ideas even work for marriage and we could use some tweaking in some of these areas (like remembering our inner kid and just having fun sometimes!) :-) Thanks for sharing Pastor Gary!