When people ask me about the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, the answer to that question is easy to me. It is being a parent. I love being a parent. It is awesome. It is fun. But it is tough. There is the reality that you can not control those little creatures. And even bigger than control their behavior, you can not make their hearts feel or believe or want something.
I am not even close to perfect parent. I am not even sure I am a good parent. That said, I want to share something that has really helped me approach parenting day-to-day. Parent with the end in mind. I have really been trying to approach each moment with my kids through the lens of what do I want them to be when they are all grown up. This is changing the way I view tantrums in a restaurant or homework or sports or time at the movies or church. I am really thinking about the godly adults I want them to be, not just the well-behaved kids they or may not be right now. I am trying to think about when I am about to die, what attributes in my kids will make me proud of them as they are adults.
My wife and I have come up with 4 things we are really after. These all flow from the idea of being a person committed to Jesus. When our children exhibit one of these, we try to go crazy about it. We celebrate it. We encourage it. We talk about. When they are outside of these, we address it. Here is our list for some key attributes we want in our kids when they are grown up.
- generous – the way of God is to give and share
- courageous – much of life is missed by not being willing to risk
- honest – character matters and we want them to get this
- others-focused – serving and caring for others with actions and words is key