Your blotchy, wrinkled newborn baby lays in your arms. Quickly forgotten is the pain of childbirth and angry threats, “I’m never having sex again.”
“He’s got your eyes,” coos daddy.
“We’ll be the best parents ever,” mommy tiredly suggests.
Your newborn or adopted child is a gift from God. And this gift is 100% dependent on you – the parent. The newborn needs you for everything: feeding, diapering, burping, rocking, holding, more feeding, more diapering. You capture all the “firsts” in pictures. As junior takes his first steps away from you, he is gaining independence. You cry on her first day of kindergarten, certain that she will always be your little girl.
That is, until the day hormones kick in and your child retorts, “You can’t make me.” Your son begins middle school. Your daughter wants a strapless dress for 8th grade graduation. You comfort yourself that you still have four more years of high school. But the years continue to fly by even faster, and your young adult daughter or son stands at the threshold of adulthood crossing the graduation stage with diploma in hand.
With tear filled eyes and pride swelling in your heart, you wonder, “Did I prepare him? Does she know how much I love her? Will he remember the importance of God in his life? Will she become successful?”
The answer to those questions actually began before birth.
- What was your purpose and goals as parents?
- What plans did you make to help your son launch into adulthood?
- What skills would your daughter need to live independently?
Remember that 100% dependent newborn? Imagine that at age eighteen, your child is leaving the nest for college or vocational training, is serving our country, or becomes employed and is beginning to live on his/her own. Consider that 18-year-old 100% “independent.” Some young people will leave their homes earlier, while others leave later. However, for this example, if we use age 18, that means that at age nine, your child is 50% on his way to independence. At age 13 1/2, your teenager is 75% independent from you. Sound scary?
It is, unless you plan ahead and intentionally prepare your son or daughter to enter adulthood. Our intentional parenting purpose was, “To raise our children to live independently, become a contributing member of society, and love & serve the Lord.” Every parenting decision made was aimed toward that goal.
Whether your child is young or already a teenager, it is not too late to determine your parenting goal or philosophy. What’s your parenting purpose?