Do you know what you want for your children by the time they become adults?  Thinking this through is the beginning of being an intentional parent.  I would like my children to:

  • love, honour and serve God
  • be active members in the body of Christ
  • be seen as upright citizens, people with character, people to be relied upon in good times and in bad, people involved in the community
  • be responsible for their time, money and possessions and to be able to work hard
  • be able to talk intelligently to all sorts of people and to know the correct manners and etiquette for a variety of social situations
  • choose wisely when they consider a life-long marriage partner
  • be prepared for marriage and the responsibility of family life

… There is so much I want for my children.

But how is this going to happen?

To be an intentional parent means you know where you are going and how you are going to get there. It means you are mindful, purposeful and deliberate.

Peter and I believe that parents need to be intentional – they need to make deliberate steps towards the things that are in their heart for their family. Whenever we talk about our children’s relationship with Jesus, their character development, their life skills, their creative expressions, their academic learning – all of these areas of life need input from a parent we need to have purpose, to have a plan.

Do you know how you are going to do this? Are you intentional?

Being intentional means having a plan, being conscious of your decisions, being aware of the principles you are living your life based upon. Being intentional is both big picture plan as well as day by day decision making. The opposite of intentional is accidental. Does life just rush past you and you find yourself, incidentally, accidentally, by co-incidence, in a certain situation. It maybe a good situation, but you never knew you were going there! It isn’t that these things don’t happen to an intentional parent, but most of the day we know the purpose behind our decisions (we need to be characterised by being intentional).

The other side of being intentional is that ultimately God is in charge. The Bible says, Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.Whenever I hear this verse I remember an image I read of in a devotional many years ago. Life’s path is like a windy, hilly country road and we are in a car at night time. The headlights beam out in front and yet can only see so far. We can only see to the top of the hill, not the other side, not until we get there. This is like God’s Word – the lamp unto my feet – I can only see so far. Intentional parents need to trust God, we need to ensure we don’t run off and do things our own way, in our own strength but always relying on God and His Word.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God,
who gives to all liberally and without reproach,
and it will be given to him.
But let him ask in faith,
with no doubting,
for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea
driven and tossed by the wind.
For let not that man suppose that
he will receive anything from the Lord;
he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
James 1:5-8

When we are unintentional it is a bit like this, we become double-minded, unstable, tossed in the wind. We need to know what it is we are asking God for, we need to know what it is He wants for our family. And the promise is there – if we don’t know – ask Him and He will answer.

Are you exhausted?
This week I had two situations where I was left wandering around, fairly purpose-lessly for a period of time. The circumstance was out of my control. I was surprised how tired, how exhausted I was – afterall, I hadn’t done anything. Having a vision, having a purpose gives one energy. Going around in circles is exhausting!

Are you overwhelmed and confused?
There are so many voices out there telling us what to do with our children. We need to hone in on the one voice that matters – Jesus. What is Jesus saying to you?

Are you distracted?
So many good opportunities come our way – be it family activities or curriculum choices. We must be able to discern the good opportunities from the God opportunities.

Are you discouraged?
When we listen to the world we end up thinking we aren’t doing enough, we aren’t good enough, we don’t make the grade. This is condemnation.

There is therefore now no condemnation
to those who are in Christ Jesus,
who do not walk according to the flesh,
but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:1

If you feel pressure, guilt, condemnation – know that this is not from Jesus. This is the enemy trying to distract you. Conviction now that is different. Condemnation comes with all the voices that you aren’t good enough whereas, conviction comes when we know things are not right from God’s perspective, and we cry out for Jesus’ help knowing that He loves you!

Michael W Smith’s song comes to mind:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His Glory and Grace.

As you discover your purpose, your intent, your design for your family, turn your eyes to Jesus and the life that he has for you and your family!

Further Reading:

Do you want an Intentional Relational Heart focused family life? I use the words intentional, relational, heart focused to describe our family life. On my first ever podcast I unpack what that looks.(Podcast and Blog) Free worksheet included.

How to Create a Heart Focused Vision Statement: A Family Vision Statement reflects your heart as you describe the values and purpose that describe your family. Includes a free worksheet.

10 Things we did as Intentional Parents: These 10 things shaped our family – and though we set out to include these things in our family, we never knew at the time how much they would shape who we are and who our kids are.

Do you Know Why?: When we know the why behind what we are doing, then we find the motivation to keep on going when things get hard.

Ooops! Missed that One! says every Intentional Parent: Being intentional doesn’t mean we never miss something, it means we deal with things in an intentional way.

Throughout the week I share with other blogs – check out my Link ups and Party page

Be Intentional

 Every week I'll email an encouragement to stay intentional and relational in all your family life.  But for now, download your set of reminder posters - posters which I've used over the years to remind me to keep my eyes and heart on what is important.

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