This is the fourth post in a series by Pastor Kyla, highlighting small and simple steps that, by God's grace, help us develop spiritually healthy families.
What you aim for is what you get. While not always true, this axiom is quite reliable.
As parents we can learn from this wisdom statement – and this week we will draw our two steps forward from this kind of thinking.
1) Set your aim with intention.
Just as computers have default settings, parents are prone to default intentions. These default settings may be expressed with subtlety, but they are powerful in their scope. Many parents, if not intentional in their choices, will parent out of fear, negativity, permissiveness, indecision, a desire for simple obedience, insecurity, trends, etc. Today you can make a huge step forward with one simple act – ask yourself what your intention is as a parent. What is my aim?
An example might be in the situation of struggling with your child's wakefulness at night. What is your aim? Is it your aim to have a good sleeper? Perhaps. However, my guess is that is quite a temporary default setting. So what, really, is your aim? How will you be the parent you choose to be in this situation? In the absence of a chosen intention, we are very susceptible to momentary needs guiding our parenting choices. Yet, our children are too valuable to be left to a default setting. Think on your aim today. As you parent, what kind of parent do you intend to be?
2) Set your aim on Jesus.
In the same way we carry default settings for parenting, some faith families carry around default settings for ministry with children. Some of these, left unchallenged, will find the focus of our faith-building instruction left to what amounts to little more than behaviour modification. If what I desire is that my child grow into a life-long follower of Jesus, then my aim will need to be set far beyond my child “being good.” Consider what it looks like in your family when the focus of our faith is set on Jesus.
My desire is for my children to fall more and more in love with their Good Shepherd everyday, and that as they do so, He will guide them in paths of righteousness. So, maybe I need to readjust my aim from having my children sit quietly in a church pew on Sunday morning, and instead desire for my child to enter the sanctuary with joy and a desire to be grown in the love of Jesus.
Where might your aim need to be readjusted today? That is your opportunity to take two steps forward!
About the Two Steps series: Pastor Kyla wants to encourage parents with this truth – two steps forward and one step back is still moving forward. Instead of dwelling on the losses, it is helpful to ensure your two steps forward are well paced, sure-footed, and abundantly fruitful. Match this intention with the abundant grace of our God, and parenting is transformed from something we “survive” to the means by which we find ourselves enjoying God's kingdom-life.