About Me

I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure (using font only to enable access in settings with poor internet)

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Intentional Parenting

I love browsing websites relating to Biblical parenting and education, and sometimes I come across something which just puts into words some of the things I have been thinking about and the conclusions I have been reaching. (Not that I am recommending it just because it ‘agrees’ with me! But rather, it is clear, biblical, practical and encouraging to me, and I hope to you also). The website is called Intentional Parenting:

Three types of parents are described. First, there are the ‘survival’ parents, whose main aim is to get through the day, get through the next few years and finally be ‘free’ from their children, who will use inconsistent strategies and bribes simply to get the child out of their hair. Then, perhaps more familiar to me, are the ‘default’ parents who want their children to have everything that other children have, whose main aim is to make their child happy, and tend to use very hectic schedules and follow whatever fashions and media are in vogue. Finally, there are ‘intentional parents’, which is what I hope we are, and what I imagine readers of this blog will be. We seek to give our children what is best and will be helpful for them, in order to prepare them for life as a productive adult with development of their God-given mind and abilities whilst protecting their heart. This type of parenting involves purposely spending time with the child and building a relationship, realising that he will learn by watching and interacting, and the main areas we employ are the Bible, enjoyable pastimes, character, home skills and yes, some academics too. (Echoes of Charlotte Mason philosophy abound... more on this later).

I like this site as it cuts through contemporary worldview, and even that existing within the church. For example, in a post on ‘margin’ (http://intentionalparents.com/2004/11/01/leave-a-bigger-margin-around-your-to-do-list/), the writer discusses how even church activities can reduce the opportunity for and effectiveness of genuine ministry. She suggests that every activity an individual in the family wishes to pursue be considered by asking three key questions:

      1)      Which of our family goals will this activity help my child accomplish?
      2)      Can I think of an alternate way to help my child reach that goal without so much stress on our schedule?
      3)      How will this activity and the necessary rescheduling affect all the other family members?

This is common sense wisdom, not giving way to the ‘tyranny of the urgent’ but adopting a careful, ‘intentional’ and prayerful approach to all elements of parenting. Read the website and be encouraged!


  1. A footnote. I met a 'survival parent' this morning. Thinks I am absolutely crazy to have not taken up the 15 hours of free childcare that my eldest became eligible for last week. It's funny, because no matter how sure I feel, sometimes I do find these kind of conversations unsettling. That's partly what this blog is all about - our walk through the early days of home education, both the theoretical side, and also the practical side which includes conversations like those I had this morning. I pray that I can wisely continue to be an 'intentional parent'!

  2. I know it's wrong, but my way of dealing with it, is to avoid this type of person. They don't aid me in my parenting, and just frustrate. By avoiding, I don't get driven crazy.

  3. Dear Anonymous,

    I don't think it is wrong to choose your friends wisely, and choose who you habitually spend time with; the Bible has plenty to say about this kind of thing in the book of Proverbs. Bad company corrupst good character, but a friend gives wise advice and counsel even when that is difficult to hear.

    But sometimes you don't realise somebody else is a Survival or a Default parent until you are already in a conversation. And I do pray that one useful thing I can do is to challenge others that parenting does not need to be:

    1) A burden (survival)
    2) Following the crowd (default)
    3) Exhausting/ tiring/ suffocating (survival)
    4) Expensive and draining (both)

    But rather can be:

    1) A joy, a pleasure, a delight
    2) Honouring to God, a means of delighting in Him more as we teach little ones of His goodness
    3) Something through which we learn and grow ourselves
    4) Fun, refreshing, engaging, challenging
    5) A lifestyle

    But I agree with you that people with radically different approaches to parenting and attitudes towards children are not those with whom I seek to spend time. They do not bring encouragement and edification, and indeed may cause me to stumble and become weak.

    Praying that we both can find a wise balance! Thanks for posting.