Guest post by Christia Colquitt
The days are long, but the years are short.
We have all heard the phrase, but how often do we stop and reflect? How often do we stop and see where we have been or where we are going on this journey of parenting?
The sleepless nights, the constant need for care and attention, the food, the diapers, the homework. It all jumbles together into one.
This is the place from where Faith Filled Parenting was created. This is where parenting with intention comes into play. By being intentional, we make the most of the long days, but short years. We not only survive, but thrive in the early years of parenting. By being intentional, we are truly striving to be the best parents we can be.
What does being intentional mean?
It means we are parenting with definition and deliberation. We are not letting the days just pass us by. We are using the days to develop a strong connection and relationship with our children. We are making a lasting bond that will last a lifetime. A bond that will last long after our children have left our care.
How do we do this?
We first need to think of our parenting goals. By setting parenting goals, we can be sure that what we are doing on a daily basis is leading us down the right path. These can be spiritual, educational or behavioral. Of course, it will depend on your family values and dynamic.
Let me share a few practical tips
As a mom of five, my most important intentional parenting tip is to spend one on one time with each child daily. It does not have to be lengthy or elaborate. Instead, the goal is assuring that each relationship is nurtured. This includes lots of eye contact, giggling, encouragement and having fun. This can also include finding out what is going on in their life, maybe discussing what is difficult or hard for them right now. All while playing ball or a game or learning the latest Minecraft technique.
Parenting with intention sometimes means we make a big generational change. We decide what positive traits of our family heritage to pass on to our children and decide what negative traits we want to leave behind. Looking back on our childhood, we decide what our positive and negative experiences were. From there, we decide what we want to encourage and what is better left behind.
Children need our time and our attention more than anything else. We all have heard that children spell love as T-I-M-E. In order to give them this attention, we have to be choosy with what we put on our plate. We have to be sure that we are making choices and decisions that will encourage the relationships with our children, not hinder them. While taking time for ourselves is essential to our health, it must be balanced with time spent connecting to our children. Balance is the key to growing these relationships.
The last critical aspect of parenting with intention is having crucial conversations with our children. We cannot back down at the hard questions. We cannot back down when we feel uncomfortable. This is when our children need us the most. They have come to us, trusting us to give them an answer. Parenting with intention means we do not cower under fear or uncertainty. We meet these uncomfortable, hard questions head on and search to find the right way to navigate the stormy waters of parenting. This could mean a mentor, a book, or guidance from a conference speaker. We need to be prepared to answer the tough questions, as well as be on the same page as our spouse.
The End Goal
We want to be our children's biggest influence. We want to be the ones they look to and model their lives after. We want to be the one they come to on a daily basis to encourage, equip, and direct them through life. Our end goal is that our children will come to us when life is hard. We want them to feel comfortable enough to come to us with anything. By reaching their hearts and having a strong relationship, we can ensure that we will be the one they turn to at that time.
As we refine our children in ways we want them to go, we better ourselves along the way. Our children make us better people. We become less selfish. We carry our hearts on the outside of our body. Our children carry our hearts with them. Let us lead them down the path that we want to go along as well. Let's parent with intention. They say it takes a village, but it starts in the home. Let's not waste a day.
Join Christia at Faith Filled Parenting and on Periscope daily at 10 am 1:30 pm CST @christiacolquitt.