Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
Training up a child is a long haul. It is a long-term proposition. And that’s why you cannot just look at today.
One of the habits in the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is the habit of Beginning With the End in Mind.
I’m not talking about making it to the end of the day, or the week, or the school year, I’m talking about the END of your full-time parenting duties: that time when your kids leave the nest and venture out into adulthood. When that END comes, what do you want your kids to look like?
To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination.
What is your destination when it comes to parenting? What kind of adult would you like your child to be?
When my kids were little, I remember feeling anxious that they would grow up to be out-of-control teens. I remember praying that they’d be strong, family-centered adults who we would love to be around.
We wanted our kids to grow up to be responsible, self-disciplined, and compassionate adults.
If you are nodding your head in agreement and want that for your kids too, then as you interact daily with your children, you must keep those goals in mind. You can’t just cross your fingers and hope they turn out okay, you have to have a plan. Decide what the END looks like for you and then map out your strategy for getting there. What core values will you base family decisions on that will help you reach the END?
No parent wants to raise kids that become entitled, selfish, weak-minded adults. But unless you are very intentional about parenting with the end in mind, you could end up with adult children that are not what you had envisioned they would be as they were growing up.
“I’m convinced that too often parents are trapped, thinking of control, efficiency, and rules instead of direction, purpose, and family feeling,” says Covey.
I know you’re caught up in TODAY and all its complications. But take some time to think of the END and how you will get there. Go on a date with your spouse, talk it over with a friend. Spend some time alone. It will not be time wasted.