Picture a Thanksgiving dinner with all the dishes finished cooking and served hot at the same time. It's quite a feat! It takes a lot of coordination and planning. When I've hosted, to make sure it all goes according to plan, I create a timetable chart ... what time each dish needs to go in the oven and what temperatures, what to mix when, what time to start another dish on the stove, or take it out of the fridge. And if you forget to put an ingredient on your shopping list or lose a recipe... yikes. It usually never comes out perfect, but you really have to be intentional in order to get the results you hope for.
I just walked through a 4-week conversation with a dozen parents sparked by a book called "Intentional Parenting" by Doug and Cathy Fields. What a great short term group experience that was! We started with recognizing the strong belief that parents are the biggest influences in their kids' lives ... and that your kids watch you 24/7. So guess what? You have to be a 24/7 role model. From there parents not only discovered why the following qualities in a family were important, but got some tips on 'how to' ....
a consistent presence
a peaceful home
making positive memories
and having serious fun!
Brave enough to do an inventory on how intentional you are in parenting in these topics? One of the many things I enjoyed while being with these parents was when they'd share a story of how doing just one thing or thinking in a different way (their homework!) made an impact. No, their kids didn't change overnight, and they don't have perfect families now. But hey, there are no perfect families! [Side note: sometimes parents can fall into comparison traps or develop anxiety because of social media. They might want you to think so, but they're not perfect either.]
In fact, throughout the Bible God reminds us over and over again that we have a need for a Savior because we are far from perfect. "The family exists, even in its imperfection, to display the heart of God to every generation", is such a great truth gleaned from the book Parenting Beyond Your Capacity.
As we approach Thanksgiving, we do have so much to be thankful to God for, and I'm not just talking turkey! Be intentional in reflecting on and expressing your gratitude to Father God with your kids, not only on that one day, but every day. And I encourage you to choose one of the "Intentional Parenting" items off the menu above to pray into and see how you might add or improve on it in your parenting. If you'd like to chat more about any of those, I'd be happy to connect with you ... coffee's on me! It IS pumpkin latte season, after all!
Praying for you and cheering you on,
Kids & Families Director