In a comment on my blog a couple weeks ago my friend Heather wrote something that resonated with how I have pursued parenting from the beginning. She said, “I remind myself I’m raising adults, not children”. What a great perspective to keep throughout the challenging years of bringing up kids. I like to say that I parent with the end in mind.
As is often the case if we don’t know where we are going it is hard to set the course for how to get there. In the arena of parenting it is easy to get distracted and lose our footing if we don’t keep our eyes on the ultimate goal. I remember when our boys were young, I read a parenting book titled, Boys! Shaping Ordinary Boys into Extraordinary Men. I have always been interested in the final outcome. In fact, I often tell my boys I am in pursuit of not only raising up men but also husbands and fathers. Over the years I have referred to our boys as “Big hurkin’ studs”. This is intentional. Boys need to know they have what it takes, they need to be empowered to be a provider and a protector of the family they will someday lead.
In his book, Think Orange Reggie Joiner puts it this way, “Somewhere along the way I have learned to lean on a principle I refer to as, imagine the end”. He asks himself this question, “who do I really want them (his children) to become?”
Parenting with the end in mind means learning to wisely respond rather than foolishly react. I spent years reacting before I realized the fine art of responding. In fact, I have memories of finding myself in the midst of an argument with my 4 year old, because I was reacting to his behavior rather than responding. I would stop at some point and think, oh my goodness I am arguing with a four year old. Responding sends the message that you will consider your child’s requests and behavior rather than using emotional manipulation to steer his behavior into adherence with your expectations. Last week when Mitch brought home the news that immediately concerned me, (see last week’s post) I waited to respond until I had considered how strongly I felt about it and had prayed, seeking wisdom and counsel. I also considered the underlying message I felt would be confirmed as appropriate if we agreed to the situation. Parenting with the end in mind considers not just the obvious and immediate consequences but the deeper message that may mold and shape our kid’s thoughts and actions.
In what ways are you parenting with the end in mind?