Long and Short: Parenting Beyond this Exact Moment

54739686 - rear view shot of couple driving on country road. woman holding map and showing the route map to her boyfriend driving the car. couple on a road trip.

 

“Hey little brother, sneak into big brother’s room. He has candy. Get some for us.”

What would you have done if you were around the corner from that discussion?

Intervened? What a great idea.

Me? I backed up quietly and decided I needed to use the toilet and Instagram.

Not my shiniest parenting moment. But not my worst either.

Because I have a reoccurring habit of making short-term parenting decisions. It is so tempting to look at this very exact moment that is staring me in my face and make the call that works best for NOW. Anybody?

I prefer not to deal with the candy snatchers.
I’m too tired to address the yelling coming from the basement.
Messes in the kitchen exhaust me and so I bake alone.
The kid whines so I hand her my phone.

These decisions are quick and effortless in the moment. They get us by. They are fantastic for surviving.

And some moments we absolutely must simply survive. That 7:00-8:00 evening hour? Oh my gosh, get those kids in bed before we lose our blooming minds.

But do you ever think wistfully about being more intentional?
What if our parenting decisions were stronger?
What if we made fewer decisions based solely on what is best for the moment?

I have one trick up my sleeve that I have been using to make better parenting decisions.

Go there with me for a minute?

You might currently have scrawny ankle-biters and awkward tweens but imagine for a minute that they are 25.

They are out of your house (please Sweet Jesus say it will happen) and your parenting job is complete.

What are those adult kids doing?

Are they finishing up a degree? Starting a family?
What is their job? Where are they volunteering?
What is their character and their reputation?
Hobbies? Passions?

When you have a picture of those 25 year olds in your mind, answer these two questions:

  1. What are the essentials? What are you absolutely insistent on? If you have only pounded a few things into their heads, what will it be?
  2. What are the biggest, craziest dreams you could hope for your kids? What would be the best possible scenario for their adult selves? What is God dreaming for them?

For me, keeping this long term picture in the corner of my eye gives me clarity to make better decisions in the short term.

When we have a vision for our kids’ future, we have a goal to work towards.

Even if the biggest ambition we have is to get those kids out of the house, we will make steps towards independent decision making before that time comes.

But I think we have some big ol’ hopes for our powerful kids.

We wish for them to use their talents to make a difference in their communities and their world.
We envision them leading and serving and impacting and chasing what they love.

So what is a parent to do? If we want strong, kind kids at age 25, what would that look like at age 16?
What would that strong, kind kid look like in Jr. High? In kindergarten?

What parenting decisions can we be making today that is aiming our kids in the general direction of Best Possible Scenario?

It just might include less screen time, more intentional conversations and definitely less candy snatching.

I would love to hear your essentials and your crazy big dreams for your kids!
Leave me a comment!

 

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2 Comments

  1. Love this AND don't like it because it's convicting! In the very loooong days of homeschooling together, it is so easy to give in or make short-sighted easy decisions. BUT I do remind myself that those moments are surrounded (hopefully) but a hundred other good long-term decisions of the day.
    My essentials lately are that they will see such real faith in us that they will eagerly let the Lord own their heart; be men that are compassionate, insightful and caring and learn to discern the Lord's voice with obedience.
    My latest big, crazy dream from the Lord is that we will run a family solitude retreat center together, and one will garden and help build and one will run children's activities and help host and they will never leave my side. And yes they can invite their wives to live on my farm. :)

    • There is no room for mom guilt in God's plan. We are not perfect but we are good moms who are trying our darnedest to be intentional. I hope you found more encouragement than discouragement.

      And that is one fantasticly huge dream! I love it! There aren't many things in life more fulfilling than serving with our families. And THEIR families. You really are thinking long term.:)

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