Over the last year, I’ve become keenly aware of my parenting role. Particularly in the area of commitment. “Commitment?” you ask. “Why commitment? Are you not very committed?” Not exactly. Allow me to explain…
I’m not talking about commitment as it relates to showing up to their activities, spending quality time with them, or my involvement in their lives. I don’t really struggle with those things. Honestly, I’m pretty driven to always be involved and always show up. The commitment I’m referring to is a commitment to principles. Unchanging values that never leave our sight and will not be compromised for anything. I call them, the 7 hills every parent should die on. You. Me. All of us who have children!
Why a hill? Well, it’s simple- A cause you believe in should be a hill you will die on! Just like the soldiers in WWII ascended jagged cliffs and overtook the German forces in Normandy because they believed in a cause, we must ascend some jagged cliffs in the battle for our children’s hearts. Raising them with values and integrity is a cause to believe in.
In 12 years of parenting, I’ve blown this big time. Trust me! But, here’s what I’ve discovered: I achieve positive traction in my parenting, and in my life, when I apply these 7 principles:
1. The hill of influence.
There is no greater voice of influence in a child’s life than his or her parent. Did you know that? This means that you and I possess the greatest amount of influence spiritually, emotionally, and socially for our children. It may be hard to see (because it appears like your child listens to nothing you say) but it’s true. They are watching us, studying us, and taking life cues from us. It’s a heavy responsibility.
2. The hill of boundaries.
If you and I want to successfully guide our children to become productive, responsible adults, we must live (and parent) by boundaries. These are healthy guidelines and rules that we set up to ensure the health and well-being of our kids. [For a great resources on setting boundaries with children click here.]
3. The hill of discipline.
Following suit with boundaries is the hill of discipline. The bottom line is this: when the boundaries you and I set up for our children are crossed (and they will be crossed), discipline is crucial! Discipline redirects and charts new courses. When applied correctly, it can be a powerful tool in bringing necessary change to our children.
4. The hill of example.
The greatest lie we could deliver to our children is, “Do as I say, not as I do.” I really can’t believe anyone says this anymore but they do. I just heard a father say it to his son the other day. The truth is, we are the greatest example our children will ever see. They will follow our example. If we live by character and integrity they will too. If we choose not to, they will too. It’s that simple.
5. The hill of financial responsibility.
Our children will learn how to handle money by watching the ways we handle money. If we are financially irresponsible, they will be financially irresponsible. You can count on it! On the contrary, if we handle money responsibly they will too! And by making this a hill you die on, you are guaranteeing they won’t return home from college to live in your basement! 🙂
6. The hill of generosity.
Our children study us closer than we think. They watch the way we treat the world around us. And they carefully examine, and tuck away in their hearts, how giving we are to those in need.
7. The hill of unconditional love.
The greatest gift we can give to our children is love. Loving them unconditionally for who they are, short-comings and all, but also teaching them to love others. To instill a heart in our children that loves all people regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or creed will make this world a better place to live. I believe future generations will be impacted, even changed, through the love of our children and how they choose to live this out.
What are some other parenting hills you die on?