I’m finding that, as moms, we worry if we’re doing it right…. how will my kids turn out? Are we feeding them the right diet? How much screen time are they getting? Am I spoiling them? Where do we draw the line between consequence and grace? I’m sure you can add another few questions to my list. I’ve been thinking about all of this in the back of my mind for a while. I didn’t realize that these questions were really related to each other, or even that all of these questions can be answered with one thought, until very recently.
The answer is intentionality. Look at each of the questions or worries that you have and ask yourself, “Am I being intentional in this decision?”
Intention | noun | an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.
I like that definition… In applying it to fit this conversation I paraphrase it down like this: making up your mind how you will act (or react) in a given situation with your family OR predetermining the end result you want to achieve in your children and behaving in such a way that will produce those results.
So we have to have the ultimate goal in mind when choosing how we will direct our family and react to different situations we go through with them. When I pull back and look at the big picture (and I mean the big big picture), as a follower of Jesus my ultimate goal is to affect my children for eternity. Relationships are the only thing we can carry with us into eternity and it’s the only thing that matters. When God uses a woman to bring a child into this world He’s not just bringing another person to earth to live and die. With each person he creates an eternal being that he loves and wants to be in relationship with. Think about that. He has that heart for your kids, he has that heart for you.
Of course I want my children to be well-rounded, polite, contributing people in society and in the world, and it’s certainly not wrong to steer them in that direction. First and foremost, though, I want them to know and follow Jesus; taking it a step further, I then want them to share the light of life with the circles of people they impact. They will do this by watching my husband and I. They’ll see the rules we have in our home and why, how we treat other people, how we react when we’re hurt or offended. I can waste time worrying about all the specifics of how we raise our children or I can keep the end result in mind and respond and behave as necessary in any situation to bring the end goal to fruition.
We don’t need to feel pressured to raise our children in the same way that our friends are raising theirs, we need to raise our kids in the appropriate way for them and for the goal in mind. I want to always point my family’s feet toward God and to his love for them and the world. And I can navigate my questions much easier if I keep that objective clearly in my sights. And, also, be reasonable with the amount of gummy bears they consume in a day 😉