Begin with the end in mind.
To raise your children is to prepare them for adulthood. I think there is no finer, or more demanding calling. Why? Because when a child isn’t raised with purpose, big problems can follow! Napoleon was well educated, but I am guessing he wasn’t raised well. On the other hand, George Washington was raised well. Washington’s parents chose to parent with purpose.
I am a firm believer that if you do not actively decide what you want for your children, when they reach adulthood, they will not be prepared.
Active child rearing is no easy task. You are busy! You are a hard working single mom. It is nearly all you can do to work enough to meet the financial demands of your parenting responsibilities. You rush around getting lunches, laundry, chauffeuring, cleaning, etc. Time passes...and all of a sudden your kids are on the threshold of adulthood, and you are left to wonder where the time has gone! It happens!
This is why it is so very, very important to parent with purpose. Take the time to define what you want for your children. Not only will you fail to succeed in reaching your goals if you fail to define those goals, but you will reach something that you do not want to reach.
No one ever says, “I want my kids to be morbidly obese and at high risk for diabetes, made fun of on the playground, and the last pick for kickball.”
BUT…when your child refuses to eat vegetables, watches TV for hours on end, and munches on junk everyday…that is exactly what could happen.
You create a Purpose statement!
The best way to parent with purpose is to actively identify that purpose. Sit down and consciously think about where and how you want your children to be when they are no longer children. To begin with end in mind is to consider "the look back". If your child were to sit on Oprah’s couch as an adult, what would they say about their childhood as they "look back"?
In the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, author Steven Covey tells us to write our own obituary. This is an amazing exercise! What do you want people to say about you at your funeral? Based on the way you are living today, would they say what you want them to say? Based on the way you parent today, would your children say what you want them to say?
Your purpose statement does not have to be, and I would argue should not be a trendy statement like “My kids will grow up in an environment of love, and learn to be a positive influence in the world.” Don't get me wrong, this is a great statement. I certainly want this for my children. However, when they are upset because I think it is time to turn off the TV and go to bed, there is nothing in this statement to get me through that moment.
I have a running list of what I want for my kids. It is nothing fancy. I have added to it as my kids have gotten older…and new challenges have cropped up. Let me share a few of my parent with purpose goals here.
My Kids Will:
You get the idea. Now that you have defined where you want to land, use your list to support you in making daily decisions. When you make decisions based on your parenting goals you put yourself smack dab in a position of parenting power. With this power you can't help but parent with purpose!