"I think what we are seeing is a shift, we have been caring for these kids and these families for 7 years now and the problem isn't going away. Many of us are tired of sitting on the sidelines waiting for someone else to care about these kids. The time to act is now, and there are dozens of ways to do it…" Jen Decker, Network 1.27 Director
I've been a parent for ten years now and I have to say its much harder than I thought it would be. I remember all the books and videos and college classes on child development and none of them have really prepared me for this current reality - the parenting journey.
The truth is everyone goes through different phases of life. As a parent, it’s so important to understand this as it relates to your child and the different phases they will go through, while also thinking and parenting with the end in mind. We don't need to be overwhelmed by the realization that before the blink of an eye our kids will be off to college, starting a career, getting married—instead, we can and should be proactive about what we teach them now and how it will shape their future.
A Phase is defined as a time frame in a kid’s life where we can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future. Every phase has its own significant relationships, present realities, and distinctive opportunities.
Here are five ideas that can help as we parent through each phase, with the end in mind and as the parent God intended us to be.
1. Fight for the Heart of your son or daughter.
Keep the main thing the main thing.
"I no longer want well-behaved kids. That’s not the end goal for me. I want Christ-worshipers who know how to love and repent. Who run to Him when they fail. Only God can make this happen in their hearts—I can’t force it. But because this is the goal, I don’t sweat the small stuff as much anymore."
- When Kids Won't Bow to Your Idol, by Jennifer Phillips
2. Create a Rhythm in your home that leverages routine times to influence your kids each week:
* when you get up
* when you lie down
* when you walk along the road
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
3. Predict and Redefine how you parent at every phase.
Anticipate what is coming before it gets here and learn to redefine your role as a parent.
4. Be Proactive instead of reactive and have a strategy when it comes to your child’s development:
5. Ask other people to be a part of your child’s life journey.
Widen the Circle: Connect your kids to other caring adults who will treat them like they are made in the IMAGE of GOD.
The point is… It’s just a PHASE. So don’t miss it.
"Our responsibility is not to do it all and to perform with perfection but to be available and diligent in our personal spiritual growth and to be willing to invest in the spiritual growth of our children. God will do the rest, sometime through us and sometime in spite of us."
-Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, by George Barna
Family Ministry is hosting a parenting seminar on Wednesdays, September 20-October 11 that covers these 5 ideas in more depth! Join us any week you can make it.
One of the hallmarks of a Westside student missions trip is that students don’t just show up and hang out but they have an opportunity to lead. This leadership opportunity led several students to explore how they can use their S.H.A.P.E. to impact others. Some students also expressed a desire to pursue further education and vocational options in international missions.