I was dreading this morning.
Okay, dread is probably too strong. Let’s just say I wasn’t excited. My lack of excitement wasn’t for me, however, it was for my kids. After a long winter’s
nap break, they had grown comfortable waking up late, wandering down stairs in their PJ’s, watching a TV show or 2, and eating breakfast closer to lunchtime. Honestly, it was something of a dream for Christmas vacation! My condolences to anyone who’s kids did not sleep in! 🙂
The truth, however, was that break was over. It was time to go back to school, back to work, back to structure, and back to life as we know it. No longer could we sleep in or take our time with whatever we were doing. It was time to move in a new direction. No sooner had my groggy-eyed children made it downstairs for breakfast than I realized- This is the change we needed. Not just the end of Christmas break and the beginning of school and work, but the start of a new way of doing things in the New Year!
Doing Things Differently.
We’d have to be insane to repeat the same pattern with our children from last year, that really wasn’t working in the first place, right? I can’t tell you how often I thought this at the start of a new year in the past. But, I would hit repeat. You’d be astounded at how many people want to parent on purpose, in the new year, much more than they did in the year previous, but just don’t. I’ve come to the conclusion that there has to be a better way. As I survey the landscape of our own parenting, here’s where we have to start:
- Personal Commitment. If you are not committed to change, purpose, and direction, you will wind up in the same place you were last year, when you became overwhelmed, discouraged and tired. Remember that moment? Maybe it happened too often for you to recount. Know how I know this will happen? It happened to us. Two-thousand fourteen was probably the hardest year of our parenting careers, and lives. Most of what we dealt with was brought on by other’s choices, but we found ourselves, early in the year, drifting like a ship without a rudder. We had lost our way. And so had our children. We don’t want to return to that. This year, we are making a personal commitment to not let that happen again. By the way, you have to take your commitment personally. It has to resonate in the deepest fibers of your being for you to stay true to it. Trust us, we know.
- Consistent Routine. We are huge fans of routine. I know routine sounds mundane and boring, but it’s monumental in creating purpose and direction for your children. I am always amazed at how many parents do not do this with their children. That’s not a judgement. Parenting is hard. We get that. However, in-spite of difficulties, those who parent with routine tend to come out on top. If nothing else, their children are more balanced. The routine you design must be consistent and predictable for your children for it to work. Our children have become so accustomed to ours, that they actually call us out when we steer away from it. If you haven’t been parenting by a good routine, stop reading this and create one. It doesn’t matter what you have or haven’t done to this point. Remember- we’re starting fresh.
- Family Goals. Believe it or not, this is the first year we have really set family goals. I’m not sure why we haven’t in the past. We just hadn’t made it a priority. No more excuses! After 2014 this is a must. We know we cannot avoid the storms we will inevitably face with our children, but we can do everything in our power to create goals to live by as we parent and lead them. Here’s the challenge- sit down with your spouse and write out goals for your family in 2015. Not many. Maybe 3 or 4. You don’t need very many to move in a new direction. For some good goal setting advice (personally or professionally speaking) I recommend Michael Hyatt’s blog.
- Direction over Intention. A book that I routinely read over and over, is The Principle Of The Path by Andy Stanley. I can summarize the book with one of his greatest quotes- “Direction, not intention, determines destination!” In the past, we found ourselves intending to parent with purpose. We would begin a new year hoping that it would be better than the last. Heck, we even prayed this over our children. It wasn’t working. Not that prayer doesn’t work, because it does. However, we found ourselves wishing, hoping, and praying, that a new year would be different, but not actually moving in a new direction. You and I can spend all of our time wishing, hoping, even praying for change, but it means nothing if we are not actually moving in the direction of change. It’s that simple!
- Joy. Joy is NOT happiness. We throw this word around all the time, quite frivolously too. Kristin and I did. Especially early on in our parenting journey. We would sing “Joy To The World” at Christmas and then find ourselves mad that we felt down and out or stressed to begin the New Year. Then we came to this understanding- Joy is not about being happy, feeling happy, getting everything you want, or even having everything go your way. Joy is a reassurance that everything is going to be okay, even in the middle of the worst storm of life. Joy is found when you choose peace. For us, our joy comes from our dependance on Jesus, and not our own understanding of the world around us. Regardless of where you are spiritually, you can find joy, in your life, and in your parenting, in-spite of present circumstances, if you choose peace. Even if all hell is breaking loose with your kid. I know from experience. Mind you, it’s not an overnight change. As with anything in life, consistency pays off. You may have to spend months, or even years, in the middle of a downpour, choosing peace. It will be extremely hard. It may even take the life out of you. There’s a payoff though. You will grow personally. You’ll be a better person, and parent, in the end!
The Do-Over Year.
Can we do something? Can we as parents, spouses, and human beings, declare 2015 to be the year of do-over! Let’s grab hold of this chance we’ve been given, to start again. What an incredible gift! For the sake of our children, it’s time to parent with purpose. We have so much opportunity. No, life will be far from perfect, and it will have it’s trials. Trust me, they are waiting just around the corner. However, we can choose how we live, and parent, in-spite of the trials. It begins with us. It begins with choice. Are you ready to start?
What are some other ways you are going to parent on purpose in 2015?