Christian Parenting with Purpose (Part I)

by Joe Hyland

I once heard Herm Edwards, the former Kansas City Chiefs head football coach say, “a goal without a plan is a wish.” Christian parenting with purpose means that we actively develop a specific plan to reach the goals we desire for our children. Parents who desire their children’s healthy integration into adulthood make specific choices according to a plan. Both common sense and experience teach us that our attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviors are deeply influenced by those with whom we spend our time. Science, on the other hand, teaches us that from the moment of birth, children are always learning – most readily from individuals around them.

Many parents comprehend the power of the influence which others have upon their children, but how many parents make specific, purposeful, daily choices based upon that knowledge? Parenting with purpose proposes that parents who desire that their children develop sound attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviors provide a consistent environment to support such goals.

Sadly, many parents allow their child to take for their peer group individuals that do not support or uphold the values and behaviors taught in their home. I have often counseled parents whose children’s lives are out of control. Many of these parents claim to understand the influence of others while, at the same time, they desire to avoid being considered judgmental for telling their children that a person or group is not good for them.

We make judgments everyday using the facts around us to better navigate through each day. For example, if we desire to make our way to a certain destination we pay attention to the obstacles that may prevent us from reaching our destination. We make adjustments to our course as needed based on information we have available to us. Those who parent with purpose parent in this way.

Statistics show that a rather small minority of individuals involved in smoking, drugs or alcohol abuse begin doing so after the age of 21. Instead, these behaviors are more often the result of the influence of peer groups or family life in which smoking, drugs or alcohol abuse are encouraged, taught, or modeled.

Christian parenting requires an understanding of the powerful influence of individuals or groups who occupy their children’s time. Therefore, these parents limit social settings with people who do not share the values, beliefs and subsequent behaviors of the family. In short, these parents have a destination for their children’s childhood: an adulthood that has as its foundation the values, beliefs and behaviors exemplified in their son or daughters family of origin.