The Chix don’t all live in the same city, in case you didn’t know or cared. We used to all live in the same house (anyway they all did and I just pretended to live in the house on Cherokee Road!), but since college we have been scattered here and there throughout the world (seriously). The sad thing is we don’t get to see each other all the time, but the cool thing is we get to visit each other and that means fun trips to new places.
So, recently we went to visit Brandy and her family in their new city! One of the fun things about this kind of adventure for me is getting to visit a new church. We visited their church and sat in on a class about parenting called Future Family by Andy Stanley and his wife, Sandra. The week we were there happened to be practical parenting tips in the video series they are watching and discussing. So, I will share some great parenting gleanings and the link to this message so you can watch it, too!
I really needed this. I like input, and this was some great and much needed input for me. Some of it wasn’t “new” ideas but they presented it all in a fresh way and it just came in a format that made sense. It has given me a lot to chew on. Here are just a few of my thoughts, but I highly encourage you to check out the link and watch this message for yourself.
*Keeping perspective. One thing Sandra said several times was that “The days feel long, but the years are short.”
There is a real mundaneness or on-and-on-ness of parenting (I liked this quote I saw someone post on a blog recently) that makes it feel loooong.
Because of that loooong feeling, we easily forget that the years are actually flying by! I mean we do feel this at distinct moments like birthdays when we wonder how it could be just yesterday that we birthed this child who is now getting way too close to my own height…
*Later is longer! Regarding perspective, Andy Stanley offered his insight that “later is longer.” His point was that in their goal to have enjoyable relationships with their children when they are grown, he realized that in the early years our children may not like us or our decisions now, but the “later” of our relationships with them lasts longer than the early years of discipline.
They said someone shared something with them that helped keep perspective:
Discipline years = Ages 1-5
Training years = Ages 5-12
Coaching years = Ages 12-18
Friendship years = Ages 18+
They emphasized the importance of beginning the discipline in those early years and being consistent and then making the necessary transitions in how you parent so you can enjoy those friendship years with your children. I’m going to have to think more about this and research more about what parenting in each of these stages really looks like.
*The point of discipline is mending or re-establishing broken relationships. This is one I have to keep chewing on and figuring out how to always keep this forefront in my mind instead of getting angry or wanting to just “pay back” my children when they do something wrong. He said we want to side WITH our children against their sin. This reminds me a lot of something I heard Tedd Tripp, author of Shepherding a Child’s Heart, say: We want to show our children that we have the same need for a Savior that they do. This has been a HUGE mind-set changer for me.
Instead of being focused on punishing them and how wrong they are, I’m saying something more like, “Oh, I hate the way sin is keeping you from being who God called you to be. I really struggle with this same issue and need Jesus to help me overcome, too.” (Reality check: it usually takes me a minute to get past my frustrated emotions to get to this kind of place).
*Lead kids in how to intersect faith with every area of life. This tied in with their second goal of parenting to raise children who feel accountable to God and who seek His will for their lives. This is key. It linked in my mind to something I read in Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson:
“the heart of home nurture is bringing the living Christ into all that you do through the life of the Holy Spirit and through the living and active Word of God. A Christian lifestyle alone might cause your children to long for Christianity, but only regular exposure to the living God will cause them to long for Christ….It is one thing to know the language and lifestyle of Christianity, but it is quite another to know Christ.”
*REALITY check! This wasn’t a main point they were trying to make, but as they were talking about family prayer time they stopped and gave a brief disclaimer saying “before you imagine the holy Stanley sitting down to pray…” realize that it was just like any family with kids wrestling, getting distracted, parents fussing and trying to keep focus. I needed to hear that because I can get very idealistic and then very frustrated when Bible or prayer times look more like a zoo than a “holy” and focused moment!
I could offer a lot more points, but really, you should just listen for yourself. I’d say it’s a worthwhile investment of 30 or so minutes. And, you might come away with different main ideas than I did!