I was asked the other day what Paul and I had done to have such great kids. At first, I started to do that thing we all seem to do-be modest, act like I had no idea, not come off sounding haughty or proud etc… but then I stopped myself. I have been engaged in an on-line study focused on “being intentional”. Thank goodness! Just as I was going to brush off the compliment, and as a result brush off this young mom’s request for advice, I took a breath and gave her question some real thought. We weren’t in a situation for me to expound much, but I knew I needed to share some real advice. I needed to take credit for a lot of really hard work. So, in that moment I shared with the young mom just that. I told her Paul and I have such great kids because we made a very deliberate decision to raise them according to God’s word. We have been very intentional about our rules, our choices, who they spend time with, who they don’t spend time with, what goes in their eyes and ears etc… We have worked hard at parenting, praying, reading, seeking counsel and making a game plan for each new age and stage. We have sacrificed work time, play time and personal friend time. We have sacrificed financially. Having great kids doesn’t just happen. You don’t “get lucky”. Having great kids doesn’t happen because you drop them off at church, take them to the lake, or enroll them in the right school. Having great kids happens because you, as parent, know how God calls each of us to live and you are willing to say yes to only those things which teach your children those standards and say no to everything that could distract or hinder their learning God’s ways.
I have continued to think about the brief interaction. I realize with regret how many other times I have laughed off the question or hesitated to share and be proud of the decisions. Living intentionally is not optional, not if we want to see success, find peace, walk in His ways and be women and men of influence. Living intentionally is mandatory. Being too busy, having too much on our plate-none of that excuses our lack of living with intent, focus, purpose, deliberateness. There’s a lot of blame in this world today. Sadly, there’s very little taking responsibility. I wonder if so many shy away from taking responsibility because they realize that in deed they have never taken responsibility for their choices, their marriage, their children. They don’t have much to want to take responsibility for. Intention, responsibility, deliberateness. Big words. Hard words. Words requiring action and follow through.
I am so thankful my parents taught me God’s word. I am so thankful they instilled His precepts in my life. None of us as parents will be perfect. None of us will raise perfect children. But, if we take responsibility for knowing how to live, and make a plan for teaching that, we can raise great kids. Today, I gladly stand up and take credit (with my husband) for two really great kids. I gladly take credit and acknowledge the hard work and sacrifices. I have no desire to leave my marriage, my children, our family to chance.
Here are a few things we do in our attempt to be intentional:
Mom and dad have access to everything at all times-because we own it until you are on your own paying ALL your bills.
We pray together daily.
We eat breakfast and dinner together every day (with exception of a special event or two a couple of times a month).
You do not go to anyone’s home unless mom and dad have met their parents face to face and know who all lives in the home.
Church is not optional AND we worship together as a family.
No one is on their phone during a meal at home or out.
We attend every one of our girls’ games or events.
We own our mistakes as parents, apologize to our girls and tell them what we are going to do different.
You get in trouble away from home, you get in trouble at home.
As parents we are never let inconvenience keep us from disciplining-yes, we are grounded when you are grounded, the buggy full of groceries can be left, etc…
We never go to bed angry.