You’ve probably heard that you have to start with the end in mind. It’s true of business. It’s true of education. It’s true of athletics and fitness.
And it’s true of parenting.
A discussion about parenting is a discussion about outcomes. All too often, we get so mired down in the daily responsibilities of parenting that we lose sight of the outcome. But you have to step back and decide your goals. Then your goals generate your objectives, and your objectives generate your tasks, and your task generates your deliverables.
So, what are the goals I want for each of my six children? (Yes, I said six.)
When I boil it down, there are really just five things I want for my children.
1. I want my children to know Christ as their personal Savior and thus find their identity, confidence, satisfaction, and purpose in Him.
This is number one for a reason. If I had to pick just one, this would be it. I want my children to know, love, and follow Jesus. But I also know I can’t force that—and this applies to all five of my points. No one can make a child follow the Lord.
The reality is that children at times stray from the values we try to instill in them. Parenting is not about dictating or mandating. It’s about positioning. I want to position my children in a place where they have the best opportunity to accept and understand the Savior who changed my life who gives me purpose who gives me hope. I share more about this later.
2. I want my children to marry well.
Granted, the Bible speaks of the gift of singleness and celibacy, but the overwhelming majority of people in our society do get married. So when a child of mine chooses marriage, I want them to choose wisely. I want them to be what God calls them to be as a spouse to their spouse. And I want them to seek God’s wisdom in choosing that spouse.
3. I want my children to work hard, leveraging their time and God-given abilities to provide for themselves and their families.
Our culture is vulnerable to the reality that Satan uses laziness to work against us. People without purpose and drive open themselves up to struggles and hardship. So I want my children to work hard. I want them to understand that the world does not revolve around them. They may be stay-at-home moms. They may be CEOs. I don’t care what they do, as long as they do what they do as unto the Lord.
4. I want my children to manage money and the pursuit of worldly possessions carefully and biblically.
If for no other reason than this… I’ve heard that over 80% of divorces are linked in some way to financial strength. So if I can help my children can make good, godly decisions about how to handle money, I will be helping protect them from a world of difficulty and struggle.
5. I want my children to love people and help others know and follow Christ.
I don’t know of a parent in this room who would not want those things for their children. So that leaves us with the question…
How do we position our children to have the best opportunity to have these big five things?
Go back to number one: to know Christ as their personal Savior and thus find their identity, confidence, satisfaction and purpose in Him.
But here’s the key that I touched on earlier…
Raising godly kids requires coming to the humbling reality that you and I are limited in our ability to create spiritual life inside our children. No parent has the burden or responsibility to create spiritual life. You simply can not fill your child with the Holy Spirit or give them salvation. Only God can do that.
But you can put them in the best position to see the real, authentic, tangible difference Christ has made and is making in your life. And that’s really at the core of parenting, right? Giving your children the example you wish for them to follow.