From time to time, we’ll publish simple parenting axioms – thoughts to hold onto and allow to guide our parenting journey. These won’t necessarily be irrefutable, inerrant or 100% perfectly applicable – but they will be truths that can help you better understand and process the journey of parenting.
Our first Axiom is a big thought:
Your parenting successes will be directly related to the intentionality with which you lean into parenting moments.
What are Parenting Moments?
We are faced with parenting moments throughout each day – some of them are big, and some of them are little. Some of them come when we expect them to, and some spring out of nowhere, catching us off guard. These are the “teachable” moments throughout the day, but also the moments when we need to respond to misbehavior, disrespect, or when we need to choose whether or not to let our teenage children make a decision we know is wrong.
Parenting moments are:
- When your three-year-old won’t eat his peas.
- When your teenage daughter comes downstairs wearing something you feel uncomfortable with.
- When your elementary aged son comes home saying he was called “fat” on the playground.
- When your kindergartener asks if you can pull over the car to help a homeless person holding a sign.
- When your twelve-year-old points her finger in your face and tells you that you’re ruining her life.
We face parenting moments often. The quality and frequency of our parenting ‘wins’ will be determined in large part by how boldly we face those parenting moments.
Why Wouldn’t We be Intentional?
We will be tempted to short-cut, ignore, short-change or minimize many of these moments for a number of reasons:
- We’re simply tired.
- We’ve faced the same battle many times before, with similar, depressing results.
- There are bigger, seemingly more important things going on.
- We’ve been blindsided and are having a hard time processing what is even happening.
But we must constantly remember that the more intentionally we lean into parenting moments, the greater our chance of success and positive growth. Said another, simpler way: good parenting doesn’t happen accidentally. It’s something we need to work towards, work on and work hard for.
How Do We Grow?
Here are a few suggestions for how we can be as intentional as possible during parenting moments:
- Spend time praying for the strength and intentionality to lean into each parenting moment.
- Remember that each moment we have to respond is a fleeting opportunity to influence our kids and invest in their lives, and it’s a moment we will not get back. If not now, then when?
- When you’re tempted to stay up a little later, watching your show or just browsing your newsfeed, remind yourself that if the quality of your parenting will be determined by your intentionality, then your intentionality will be affected by your rest and sleep. Sleeping well is key to parenting well!
- Cultivate healthy relationships who can encourage you and challenge you to not miss an opportunity
And finally, give yourself grace. We will not lean into every moment; we simply can’t. Give yourself the grace to be an intentional-and-yet-overwhelmed parent, who is trying as desperately as possible to parent well. Acknowledge that the best intentions won’t always result in perfect results – both for yourself or for your kids.