A few months ago, my middle son TJ came home from work, handed me a set of motivational CDs that he had been listening to and said,
TJ: "You should listen to these you would like them."
Mom: "Really, why is that?"
TJ: "Because he talks about a bunch of stuff that you are always telling us."
Mom: "Really, like what?"
TJ: "Like you know how you are always telling us to live in the moment and don't be texting all the time and how you are always taking pictures and how you are always setting goals. You do what he tells us to do in business, except you just do it in parenting."
Mom: "That's really funny that you would say that TJ, because I have been thinking about writing a book called "Professional Parenting" with the subtitle: "The Business Man's Guide to Parenting."
TJ: "I think you should write it."
So that is how the name of this blog came to be. I have it on my list to co-author a book by that title with John Maxwell. I'm not naive to the fact that most of the parenting books that are purchased are purchased by wives who then try to coerce their husbands into reading them. The "following" on this blog confirms that it's the women who are doing the reading on parenting. As far as I know, I don't have any men following my blog. However, if a book was written about parenting that the man could use the principals in his business as well as in his parenting, then perhaps more men would be more interested in reading that book.
OK enough about the title. Today I would like to talk to you about the importance of setting goals in your parenting. It is my belief that the days of passive parenting are a thing of the past. I don't believe you can be passive in your training and have your kids survive this sin-filled culture. My personality type "D" enables me to keep my eye on a goal for a very long time.
I had 3 goals in mind as my kids were growing up:
1. The importance of the power of the tongue.
2. How to resolve conflict.
3. The importance of guarding their innocence.
The power of the tongue.
The Bible is very clear about the power of speech to do great good or evil. Here, words are described as having the power of life and death--the power to build somebody up or tear them down. The power of the tongue should not be underestimated. Proverbs 18:21 - "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. "Eat" what? You will either eat the fruit of life or you will eat the fruit of death, depending on how you speak. Each day you are given a choice as to whether you are going to float your tongue in the river of life or the river of death. CHOOSE LIFE!
This is a lesson that all 3 of my kids have learned well. Very rarely will you ever hear them speak negatively about themselves or others. They understand the power to speak verbal blessings. Another reason I know that my kids "got this one" is because now that my kids are grown, I will sometimes relax my "guard". Just the other day I said something that was not positive in nature and my son said, "I can't believe you spoke that curse over my life." So yeah, I think all three of my kids got that one.
How to Resolve Conflict:
This is probably the one that I put the most effort into helping them learn, because I feel that if someone has good conflict resolution skills they will be successful in every area of their life. They will be successful in their marriage, they will be successful in their jobs. Since many times the reason someone gets fired is not because they can't do the work, but rather because they can't get a long with people. The training tool that I used to teach them how to be good at Conflict Resolution is Pastor John Fichtner's teaching series: "Conflict Resolution". You can listen to this series online if you would like by going to http://www.libertychurch.org/. Tim and I also tried to lead by example, by allowing our kids to observe how Tim and I worked to come to agreement when making decisions. Being good at conflict resolution requires people to be teachable and humble. Remember a humble person "WANTS TRUTH MORE THAN THEY WANT TO BE RIGHT." I have seen my kids resolve conflict over the years in a healthy manner, so I know that they got this principal as well. My youngest son was in a band when he was 15 - 16. Being in a band and working with 5 other families provided him with many opportunities for implementing his conflict resolution skills. Now whether they choose to apply what they know is another matter all together, but at least they have the knowledge of HOW to resolve conflict properly.
The importance of guarding your innocence:
In today's sin-filled culture you are looked at as weird if you even attempt to guard your innocence. What I tried to communicate to my kids is you are not weird for trying to guard your innocence, but you are rare and valuable.
For our 25th wedding anniversary, my wonderful husband bought me a beautiful diamond ring. I would hold up that ring and ask my kids, "Why is this diamond so valuable?" After many guesses we would come to the conclusion that what makes things valuable is how rare they are. One way we decided to protect their innocence was by purchasing a Clearplay DVD player. Its a DVD player that filters out the sex, cussing, and excessive violence. That way we can enjoy a movie without having to lay aside Biblical principals for the sake of "entertainment". During the teen years they did not feel like they were current and up on movies, so our compromise was Clearplay. Good leadership is being able to come up with options that everyone is pleased with. Now that my kids are adults, I don't always agree with their media choices but its their lives and they will have to live with the choices they make. It's my hope that the filth of this world will be distasteful to them and they will return to guarding their innocence once again. Don't get me wrong, their media choices are probably much like the average Christian Joe's media choices and my standards are looked at by others as "weird", but to me I find them very valuable.
So in conclusion, I would like to challenge you to start thinking about what goals you would like to achieve as parents. What would you like for your children to leave your home with when they move out, and what tools are you going to implement in order for you to reach those goals?
One other side note: It's vital that you understand that you can make goals all you want, but unless your son or daughter sees the benefit of that goal, they will be YOUR goals, NOT THEIR GOALS. One thing about generation X-ers and the Millennium generation is they don't do anything unless you show them how it will BENEFIT them. So not only is it important to come up with the goals, but even more important is communicating to your teens how adopting these goals for themselves will BENEFIT THEM.
Tomorrow I promise to write about creative punishments for teenagers and I will also share the number one thing that teens want.