Have you ever had one of those slap-your-face, can’t-believe-I-haven’t-been-doing-that, kind of parenting moments? This week, a friend brought her kids over to play, and told me very proudly that her son has been working on thinking of others’ needs lately, like opening doors for people and so on. It suddenly struck me that while I have been addressing issues that come up with my kids, I haven’t been parenting on purpose, or choosing what areas we are going to work on that day (or week, or whatever). I’d call it reactive parenting, instead of preemptive parenting.
Of course that’s probably a no brainer to a lot of you. Honestly, it’s a no brainer to me too, but somehow there are a lot of no brainers that get lost in the mix when you’re juggling four kids and all the messes they create. All of us want children with strong character, and all of us know it’s better to teach those concepts on purpose rather than lecture in the heat of the moment.
With the New Year just around the corner, I’ve been thinking through a lot of goals, and this fits in so well. Thanks to the encouragement on Lara Casey’s blog and in her PowerSheets, I have decided to cultivate what matters, not anything else detract or distract from that. If we need more time to teaching the toddler how to respond when her name is called, I might have to let this blog go for a day or two. If my older kids need practice with their table manners, I have to be intentional about having all the food ready so we can sit down together instead of me running around getting things and missing the training moment.
It’s all about choices. Parenting on purpose just means choosing what we want our kids to be thinking about and learning, how we see they need to be growing and structuring our lives to orchestrate that. Let’s choose what matters this year. Let’s be intentional about raising sunshine.