Pursue Parenting Excellence

LoveOverTime

“Having success for a year or two, that’s called being hot. Being in demand. Excellence is being able to perform at a high level for a long period of time.”

— Jay Z, music artist and entrepreneur

I know a number of people who have experienced overnight success with a product or startup, but as parents the idea of “overnight success” should be dismissed immediately.  If you believe for even a moment that one fantastic conversation with your child will set the course for the rest of their lives, then you are delusional. Excellence is something that comes over a long period of time.

The good news is that because it’s a long time coming, there is time to bring correction to my own parenting mistakes. My excellence isn’t measured in hours and days or even weeks. It is instead measured over years and decades. I think I can tackle this decade thing, it’s the hourly thing I’m struggling with.

Love over time, time over time, words over time, hugs over time, attention over time, dinners over time, car rides over time, ice cream after school…over time. Its the distance we travel that creates the greatest impression on our children.

So make it a point to pursue excellence, not quick fixes. Excellence is who you are…over time.

 

 

Protecting Marriage

JonathanStarr

Often the most overlooked parts of our unique parenting style, is the marriage aspect. We read books on parenting, we talk to other parents about our kids, and we laugh together about all of our parenting misadventures. However, we don’t often put an equal amount of energy into our marriage.

We’d all agree that we want our kids to see a good marriage. Nobody wants their kids to see an eventual divorce, broken homes, constant bickering, and angry conversations. But, what does it look like for kids to see a good marriage? Is it public displays of affection? A little kissing, and a dad that does the dishes?

I believe it’s much more than any of that.

It’s conflict resolution. Spouses will argue, and if they are really passionate arguers it will be loud. All couples have disagreements, frustrations with each other, and even an occasional misunderstanding. We should limit how much a part of our lives are described by the previous reasons, but we all know those things will happen. The solution to making conflict work in your families is to let your kids see the compromises made, the apologies given, and the grace applied.

It’s serving even when it’s not  convenient. It’s as easy as getting that second glass of iced tea before they ask for it, and as difficult as taking an entire weekend to help the family accomplish a task that your wife is asking for. Serve your spouse in front of your kids, and the less convenient it is…the more of an impact it can have on them when they see it!

It’s spoken words of love. Sure, show your love with some actions, but fill the cup with overflowing in the words department. Say it. Tell her you love her. Tell him he’s awesome. Let the words between you and your spouse be words of life and love. You should also let the words of love flow, even when your only audience is the kids!

It’s including them in the love story. Once upon a time…I met my wife. There is a lot of story there, but the story really takes off when my little ones starting arriving. My 3 kids are one of the best parts of the love story that Starr and I are writing together. I let my kids know, that each time one of them entered the world…my love for their mother increased yet again. I love her more, because I have them in my family.

It’s putting them 2nd. Here is the importance ranking in my house. Starr is #1. Kids are scattered in somewhere at #2. Then everyone else is a distant #3. But the #2 ranked kids aren’t even close to their #1 ranked mother. It’s not #1a and #1b. It’s her first, always first, never last, and the one that will be with me forever. She’s the only person in the house that makes it all work for me. This doesn’t hurt my kids self-esteem, it builds it up.

Anything you’d add to the list? How do we protect our marriage in front of our kids?

But spiritual parenting tells our children, “Yes, this time you did not choose truth, but this does not define you. This is not who you are. This is something you did, but it is not who you are. You’re still the same person. You still belong to God—you are in Christ. And that can’t be taken away.” We must remind them of their true identity because guilt and shame are debilitating demons.

Trophy Child: Saving Parents from Performance (Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2012)

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What a great book for parents! This is a book more about parenting motives than parenting strategies, and it will force you to answer some questions you may have been avoiding. Chocked-full of family devotion ideas, and of course since it’s a Ted Cunningham book…some practical marriage help as well. I love what David C Cook has published here, and I hope those parents out there looking for something new and unique would give this one a chance!

 

 

“Having kids who look out for the needs of others and who truly
love and serve the Lord—that’s what every Christian parent longs
for! Without relying on formulas or easy answers, Ted Cunningham
helps moms and dads understand what it means to instill character
in their kids. This is a great book!”
Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family

 

“Let’s face it—parenting ain’t for wimps. We need to let our kids
do their own homework, learn how to lose a few games, and deal
with the consequences of their decisions. This book will give you a
backbone without turning you into a tiger mom.”
Dr. Kevin Leman, New York Times bestselling
author of Have a New Kid by Friday

 

“Ted Cunningham is a gifted communicator who is renewing the
way this generation thinks about marriage and parenting. The
thinking behind Trophy Child won’t just make you a better mom or
dad; it will make you a better follower of Jesus.”
Margaret Feinberg, author of Wonderstruck and
Scouting the Divine, www.margaretfeinberg.com

They Want to be Known

Love_LeadSmall

The way you love a kid can dramatically affect his or her future. Love over time creates worth, and any parent would tell you the most common parenting mistakes are easily overcome by loving our children over the long haul. In the book Playing for Keeps , the authors make this statement:

Most research suggests that when it comes to love, the younger the recipient, the more powerful the impact.

This can create quite the urgency in the heart of an elementary small group leader. Think about it. When we are only seeing these kids for a handful of hours a year, how can we demonstrate a love that makes a sincere impact?

- Read the rest of my contribution to the Lead Small blog at:  http://leadsmall.org/elementary/the-time-is-now/