Parenting is a more like a marathon than a sprint and when your kids hit Junior High you know the finish line is finally and unavoidably coming up fast.
If you’ve already done what you needed to do then these last few years may be the most fun you’ve ever had with your kids.
If not, don’t freak out. Not yet anyway.
There’s still plenty of time and opportunity to fill in the gaps in your cooperative people building venture.
Remember that what you’ve been doing for the past 12-13 years or so is some of the most important work you’ll do in your entire life.
It’s work most of us weren’t really prepared to take on when we originally got the project handed to us—all wrinkled, naked, and crying.
Trial and error were our constant mentors.
Along with fatigue and confusion 😉
Life has a way of making us feel like pizza dough.
Invisible hands pull in every direction at once and then toss us up into gravity’s iffy grip?
We feel the torque and tension of relationship struggles, business or work challenges, financial difficulties, a limping economy, looming health concerns—and oh yeah—‘trying to raise kids’ while coping with all the other issues of life. Not to mention car repairs and trying to agree on plans for the Holidays.
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The day to day operations of a family can pull focus away from our highest aspirations as parents.
It’s easy to get ‘in the weeds‘. Our parental tractor beam loses power and so we lose our connection with the intended target. We begin to deal with the everyday minutiae without reference to our larger, righteous calling and commission.
Parenting is a partnership with God.
It’s a sublime privilege to help shape and refine the heart and mind of a human being. And God, who never wastes a good opportunity to do more than one hard thing at a time, also uses the experience of parenting to shape us—the parents— into the image of Jesus. God works on us through our kids as we work to raise them to know and love Him.
Parenting is a sort of symbiotic relationship that’s divinely designed to spiritually benefit both the parents and the kids.
Take some time to think about your kids individually.
Try to think objectively. What are his or her strengths? Weaknesses? If you’re like me this is where your thoughts begin to resemble the path of a hamster in an activity ball.
I hope this list of character traits will help get you rolling in the right direction.
It’s a simple tool to help you see what’s been accomplished and what’s still left to do in your child’s heart and life.
Read through it prayerfully with just one child in mind.
Get input from your spouse.
Sometimes one parent has a blind spot about a kid and needs the other parent’s 20/20 vision to accurately see that particular child.
Ask God for clarity and insight into your son or daughter. There’s a promise for this in James 1:5.
You’re looking for the big picture here, the consistent expressions of character, not the occasional outburst or violation of trust.
Try making a list of the traits that currently describe your child’s character.
The good and the ‘not so good’—these are the areas that still need direct input from you.
Proverbs 31:27 tells us that a woman who fears God looks carefully to the ways of those in her household. She doesn’t ignore the signs of character deficiency in her kids. Stubbornness, dishonesty, laziness, selfishness, etc. . .are on her radar and she’ll address them before they become entrenched in her child’s character.
She also notices and encourages the good—every single bit of it.
Use this list to give a name to the good you see in your kids.
Then look for opportunity to comment on what you’ve observed. Let your kids know that you’re proud of their good qualities and the way they’re maturing. This isn’t manipulation, it’s encouragement, and we all need it.
God intended that we exert a powerful force for good in our children’s lives. It’s reassuring to know He’s in this enterprise with us.
Personally I’d trim this list to these 21 traits.
*** I’d add Kindness Ephesians 4:32
“In the weeds is restaurant slang used to describe a server who is hopelessly behind.”. . .
An online glossary of restaurant terms puts it like this: “A colloquial expression used when persons are near or beyond their capacity to handle a situation or cannot catch up. Struggling. Very busy.”
Every mom I’ve ever known has fit this description at one time or another!!! Ask any Mom who is also a waitress which job is harder.
What character traits do think are most important and what have you done to try to build them into your kids?