Parenting 101: Begin with the End in Mind

What do you value?

I have 4 talented and gifted children. Each are different, unique and quirky. Discussing them, their activities, their talents and our family schedule, I’ve found myself having the same discussion several times over the last couple of weeks during this topic of parenting.

It goes something like this:

Parent: My child is really into XX (soccer, dance, art, football, baseball, piano, etc). Sometimes I feel like it takes over our lives.

Me: I know what you mean. I’ve had to ask myself, “What do I really value?”

[Full disclosure] Our kids have done recreational everything – music, soccer, baseball, softball, gymnastics, dance, basketball, 4-H. We’ve also invested (I do not use that word lightly) into competitive soccer and dance.

We value soccer and dance. However, there is one thing we value over those activities – church. Between the hours of 9-Noon on Sunday morning, we don’t do sports/activities. That’s the rule. There are exceptions. That’s our family.

Value What You Want

Here is the purpose for my value. I have an end in mind.

What do you want? Have an end in mind. Parent with values on AndyBondurant.com

The chances of one of my children having a successful career in any one of their activities are less than slim. The opportunity for a college scholarship are a little better. They have a descent chance they can compete at a high school level.

For me, keeping that in mind is important, or my values can easily be reversed as I’m parenting.

To help remind me, I have this end in mind for my kids (the day they head off to college, move out, get married, etc):

  1. They love and have a relationship with Jesus.
  2. They are a man/woman of character.

That’s it. Grades, college, sports/dance/art/music success are a bonus.

2 things to remember as a parent: Jesus & character. Everything else falls in place. Click To Tweet

I believe with all of my heart, if my kids can figure out those two things, everything else will follow. Which goes back to values.

Church does not equal Jesus, but it does put in a concrete form that value in my child’s mind. They know church (Jesus) comes before a game. They also know, it’s our value, and we stick to it (character).

There is a Bigger Purpose

At the same time, I know these activities are more than just a fun distraction. They are opportunities to learn. The other day, my son and I had a conversation about using his gift (soccer) for God’s glory (end #1). He can only do that if he dedicates the proper time to practice (end #2).

Recently, my dancer daughter made the decision to step away from the competition part of dance. She wants to be more involved in our church youth group. She felt God was speaking to her about this (end #1). To make the final step in this decision, she had to have a tough conversation with her dance teacher (end #2).

If you are still with me, and you have completely different values than mine, I applaud you. I understand, your values in parenting and life might be different. That’s cool.

It’s not about the value, it’s about the end.

You better have an end in mind.

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