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Paint a Parenting Picture

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I ve heard it said that when it comes to parenting, the days are long, but the years are short. It s true, isn't it? Eighteen years feel like such a long time, and then suddenly we have a 9-year-old that is ½ way finished with his time in our home! If you have young children, then know that it s a whirlwind coming to get you and those babies will be up and around in no time. If you are the parent of teenagers, then I m sure it s already hit you full in the face.

In the grand scheme of your child s life, the quantity of time they spend in your home is a drop in the bucket. However, the quality of that time they have is entirely up to you. Parenting intentionally means that we recognize the shortness of what we have to work with, while also acknowledging the seriousness of what we have to carry out in that short amount of time.

Could I challenge you to paint a picture of what you'd want that 18-year-old birthday party to look like? Take a moment to imagine a huge send off party for your daughter or son. Imagine that you gathered together everyone that has ever influenced your child in a positive way. Imagine the room is full of all the voices they ve heard over the year s family, friends, small group leaders, baseball coaches, gymnastics instructors, schoolteachers, and neighborhood buddies. They are all gathered together to celebrate the future of your son or daughter, and they ve all had a role in helping to make them who they are.

Got the picture in your mind's eye? Now ponder these questions:Are any of these people in their lives now?Who is missing right now from their life that you would want at this celebration? Are there some people at the party that you d rather not be there?

To really value the voices our children have in their lives, we have to begin to imagine the end of their time with us. Every word your child hears from the influences in their life, are already planning this send off party; whether you know it or not.

Whether you know it or not, you ve been granted the role of influencing these young children in your home. God has given you the responsibility of managing their time in your home, and while they eventually will make their own decisions and choose their own path in life, it s your influence now that helps make those decisions and paths more clear for them.

 

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.