I remember during one of our endless, swooning, long talks over the phone during our dating days, sitting sideways on one of the shag green stairs in the apartment where I lived with my Mom and sis, phone cord stretched through the kitchen and round the corner, never again to coil properly again, that Sean started talking about his five year plan. Five year plan? I think that was the first I had ever heard of it.Keeping in mind that "man makes plans but the Lord orders his steps" (totally paraphrased, I'm sure), I think it is a wonderful idea for couples to sit down and have an idea of what goals they have in mind and then break it down into feasible itty bitty bits.
For example, one of our goals is to raise our children and have them turn out to be solid, functional human beings who have a growing relationship with the Lord and contribute to the betterment of their world. And I just pulled that off the top of my head so I am pretty sure there would be a more eloquent way of phrasing it. But there it is.A pretty nice goal, to be sure, but how can we see it accomplished? What steps do we need to take? How will we know we are on the right track? All of a sudden, simply because we have this goal in mind, we have a screen to filter things through. Education, media, friends, toys, games, family vacations, discipline - all the thousands of choices that make up a child's life become important and scrutinized because we have an end goal in mind.
Make plans for the day to day, month to month, and year to year regarding parenting:
1.) Spend daily time reading the Bible and bringing all things before God in prayer. I know that this focuses my attention and makes me more a more purposeful and patient parent.
2.) Build or get involved with a community of parents who are purposefully parenting and have common goals.
3.) Utilize available parenting resources, for example Family life Today, Cloud and Townsend, learn to love reading (books on cd are great during housework!). Run everything you read through the filter of God's Word.
4.)Set specific goals for each child for the coming year. These can be educational, but I think at a young age it is more important to focus on goals instilling morality and character. If you want to see a child who is a sluggish worker become more diligent - what will you do? What will this look like? How will you know the goal has been accomplished? Buy a $1 notebook and write this all out.
5.) Encourage healthy friendships for your children.
Sean and I have been praying about one of our children finding a close best friend. As our children grow, I want our home to be the place where all of their friends want to be. That is an enviroment we can begin cultivating right now.
6.) Support your local church in these areas. Get involved! Be the dad who befriends the kids from single family homes, invite young couples over, encourage tired moms!
Do. Something. Make it not all about you.
In the past we have set goals for marriage, finances (Dave Ramsey!), areas of service, giving, health, business and parenting. All this week, I'll be sharing a glimpse into what these goals look like. Leave a comment and share yours with us too.