Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Parent's Checklist

I attend a bible study every week called Bible Study Fellowship (BSF).  It's a phenomenal program that is worldwide.  One of the coolest things about it being a worldwide program is that people all over the world are studying the same chapter of the same book of the bible each week.  They operate under a 4-fold approach.  There are notes that you take home to read, a lesson you complete each week, a small group that you meet with and then a lecture that you hear as one big group.  The lectures are so, so good.  They also have an unbelievable children's program.  Even as young as Crews and Tate.  It's not just babysitting for the hour and a half.  It's structured time of singing hymns, telling a bible story, and interacting with the kids.  I can't speak enough about how awesome the children's portion of BSF is.  If you are looking for a bible study to get involved in, you should really check this out.  You can go to their website to learn more about the study as well as finding a class near you.  Most classes meet at local churches who are gracious enough to offer their facilities for hundreds of women and children to come each week and study the bible.

Sorry for the long intro.  This was not my purpose in coming here this morning.  But, I just felt like I should give you a little background info.  

So, one of the things that you can pick up each week in addition to your lesson is a Home Training Lesson (the yellow sheets that they offer out in the lobby).  There are typically some great ideas of how to parent you kids.  Offering thoughts on how to interact, discipline, encourage them, etc.  I don't always make the time to read mine because, let's be honest, some weeks I'm doing good to get the lesson done and the notes read.  But, this week someone in our small group mentioned it.  She picked if up before classes started and happened to skim over it.  There was a checklist on the back that she said was fabulous.  So, I grabbed one after lecture and quickly realized that she was right!  The list is so good.  It's a checklist of things parents should be doing every day.  

Now, before I post it I want to say something.  As soon as I skimmed it, I started picking out all the things that I am not doing consistently enough or well enough.  But I quickly realized, this should be an encouragement to me!  Not something to beat me up about what I'm not doing well.  I should be spurred on to add to the things that I'm already doing.  And I should find comfort and encouragement knowing that God is honoring the things I am doing because he specifically tells us to do these things (there are verses that support each item on the checklist).  How awesome!  Some days when the days are long and I don't have enough patience or energy left, I am encouraged to know that the work I am doing is not in vain.  I am training up young men of God.  Providing them with the tools to live a life worthy of their calling.  So, I am encouraged!  Knowing that there are additional things that I can do to impact their lives and wanting to stretch and grow in order to bless them and honor God in this thing called motherhood.

So, wow.  Enough talking.  Here's the list:

A Parent’s Checklist

o  Hugged my child and told him, “I love you” (Luke 15:20)
o  Prayed specifically for my child (1 Chronicles 29:19a)
o  Listened carefully when my child wanted to talk (Mathew 18:5)
o  Read to my child (Proverbs 4:1-4)
o  Discussed God with my child (Deuteronomy 4:9-10)
o  Expected obedience from my child (1 Timothy 3:4)
o  Exhibited patience with my child (1 Corinthians 13:4)
o  Sang or listened to music with my child (Psalm 8:2)
o  Spoke about his father/mother with loving respect (Colossians 3:18-19)
o  Did not expect behavior beyond his or her age capabilities (1 Corinthians 13:11)
o  Trained him or her with appropriate boundaries and consequences (Genesis 2:16-17)
o  Punished disobedience with appropriate measures (Jeremiah 17:10)
o  Helped my child learn something new (Luke 2:52)
o  Encouraged my child to do something for someone else (Galatians 6:10)
o  Took action to shield my child from evil and harmful influences (1 Corinthians 13:6-7)
o  Challenged and helped my child to do something he though he could no do (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
o  Avoided punishing my child when I was angry (Psalm 103:8-14)
o  Exhibited good manners for my child to model (Matthew 7:9-12)
o  Commended my child for a valuable character quality (Galatians 5:22-23)
o  Read the Bible to my child (2 Timothy 3:15)
o  Prayed with my child (Matthew 18:19-20)
o  Modeled only those attributes I want my child to emulate (1 Corinthians 4:16)
o  Laughed with, not at, my child (Romans 12:15)
o  Thanked my child for something he did (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
o  Gave my child some responsibility (Titus 3:14)
o  Did not talk negatively about my child in his presence (Proverbs 12:18)
o  Praised and thanked my child more than I criticized him (Proverbs 16:24)
o  Asked my child’s forgiveness when I was wrong (James 4:6)
o  Forgave my child immediately (2 Corinthians 2:7-8)
o  Made time to be alone with my child (Deuteronomy 6:7)
o  Did not make a promise to my child that I cannot keep (Ecclesiastes 5:5)

Now, I know that it's a lot.  But, there are probably many on this list that you already do.  Intentionally or maybe even unintentionally (which, how cool is that, that God can use even things that we unintentionally do to impact our kids! - encouraging and convicting :))

So, here's my plan.  I printed a few of these on a smaller piece of paper (to fit inside my planner) and have I plan to use them for the next week or so.  For the first few days I plan to check off these items at the end of the day.  Not referring to the list constantly to see what I still need to do for the day (I'm afraid that would end up looking a little something like this:  "Okay, Crews and Tate - now we're going to sing...ready?  This little light of mine...laalaalaa until the song is finished - and by the way, I was supposed to give you some responsibility - so how about you put this book away.  Oh and let's have a tickle fight right quick so I can check off the laughter one. -- All within five minutes...I'm thinking that's not the point of this list :)) .  

After the first few days I'm hoping to choose a couple that consistently haven't been checked off and be intentional to add that into my day.  Over time I am hoping to make a habit of the majority of these.  They are really phenomenal ideas.  And really?  This motherhood thing is a priority.  A top priority.  So I should some time figuring out how to be best at this job.  

I guess we can consider this "professional development"  :)