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!