You already know parenting is important.
And you spend time with your kids. But is it time doing the things that matter the most? Do you have a plan to help you be the best parent you can be, and are you intentional about putting that plan into action each day?
In other words, do you practice proactive parenting?
Our Calling as Parents
We are not asked to be perfect parents, and our kids don’t need us to be. But we owe it to them to be the best parents we can be.
The second commandment Jesus mentions in the Bible is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Our neighbors are the people around us, and no one is closer than our kids.
Similarly, the Great Commission asks us to teach and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20), and this is also instruction we can apply as we raise our children.
Parenting is perhaps our highest calling, at least for that season of our lives, and it is:
- A key part of our purpose in life, and one of our most important ministries.
- The role where we are in the best position to make an impact on someone’s life.
- An opportunity to leave a legacy with our children, one also affecting future generations.
It is our responsibility to be proactive in our parenting. Otherwise, our kids’ worldview will be shaped only by the internet, television, and friends. That will be who is teaching our kids.
And that is a risky proposition indeed.
Being proactive means influencing something in advance rather than doing nothing or only reacting afterwards. For example, a proactive person washes his hands and takes vitamins, while a reactive person gets sick and then takes cold medicine to feel better.
Proactive parenting is when we are intentional about doing the right things to encourage positive outcomes in our kids’ lives, rather than waiting until there is a problem.
Being proactive includes knowing what not to do, such as what behaviors to allow and battles to avoid. It is not a pursuit of perfection, but doing what we can to be the best parents possible.
We can focus our proactive parenting in three areas as our children seek to acquire:
- Spiritual wisdom – As they build faith and a relationship with God as the foundation of their character, and obtain biblical understanding to adopt a healthy worldview.
- Personal excellence – So they acquire knowledge, experience, and confidence to develop the competence to be the best they can be and fulfill their God-given potential.
- Emotional well-being – In order to establish a healthy self-image with the serenity and resilience to live happily, better protected against trials and issues they will face.
Good parenting involves balance, and understanding the extremes can help us hit the target.
- Under-parenting – When we do too little, by being …
- Reactionary: With no specific plan in mind, even though waiting until there is a problem may sometimes be too late.
- Distracted: Doing only our own thing each day is a decision to neglect our parenting, and being busy is only an excuse for a while.
- Over-parenting – When we do too much, such as when we are …
- Controlling: Consumed with feeling we must be in command and locked into perfectionism, which leads to anger and anxiety.
- Overprotective: Helicopter parents who hover relentlessly, sometimes helping too much or enabling the wrong behaviors.
- Proactive parenting – When we get it just right, by focusing on …
- Building a plan: Picking the most important areas and putting a plan in place to help us become great parents.
- Being intentional: Putting the parenting plan into action on a regular basis by doing the most important things each day.
Parenting is too important to do anything but our best.
Proactive parenting, in the right balance, can help us contribute to our kids’ development in the areas that matter the most. And that is perhaps the best we can do.
Question: Are there areas where you feel you could improve your parenting?
Action: Decide if you under-parent or over-parent, and begin to adjust the balance.