Am I prepared to count the cost in being a parent – to be an effective parent?

The challenge came as I was reading a passage in Luke 14:28-31

For which one of you when he wants to build a tower does not sit down first and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid down a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish”

It is a bit late for me to sit down and count the cost of building a strong family – my family already exists! But the challenge is still relevant – the principle is still relevant.

 

When we start something we need to make sure we have what it takes to finish it.

 

Do I have what it takes to finish this task of parenting? There are days it doesn’t feel like I do!

The word that summed up the cost of effective parenting to me is SACRIFICE.

Sacrifice is a word that is not very popular in our me-centered society. Sacrifice means to forego, give up, forfeit, let go, lose, and surrender. These words do not describe the way we are taught to make it in the world. We are taught to look out for number one, strive for your own rights. We are taught that we deserve the best we can have. Am I prepared, for the sake of teaching my children character, to give up some of my “rights”, to give up some of my self set goals, to let go of some of my self imposed standards? This will cut across my very nature.

Can I count this cost and pay?

These are some of the questions I had to ask myself. Just a comment here, these areas I am sharing are personal areas. Activities that are okay and in balance in one persons life may need adjusting in another’s. The principle is sacrifice and counting the cost – you need to find your own application – I am not saying these things automatically have to go once you become a parent.  But you must think about the things that are hindering you from being the effective parent you want to be.

Can I give up my huge craft habit (I am not talking here of denying all self fulfilment or relaxation but the challenge made me look at my priorities and make some adjustments) …My creative sessions can leave me totally absorbed as my mind wanders here and there. I am not very other’s centered when this happens. Am I willing to make a change in this area of my life? I need to count the cost!

Can I forgo my right to time by myself … parenting is time consuming. Am I willing to give of my time – that is, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, a lifetime of being there for my children. I need to count the cost!

Can I forfeit my right to private space and breathing space? For me this means answering my children’s questions, questions and questions. There is always chatter in my house. I need to see this as an open opportunity to teach into my children’s lives instead of demanding my space and peace. Can I change my attitude? I need to Count the cost!

Can I let go of my controlling need for cleanliness and order? What is to have a higher priority in my home – cleanliness or godliness, and they are not necessarily related! I must keep my focus on training my children and even though that may include setting an example of cleanliness the example is not to take over my time or attitude. Can I find a balance? I need to count the cost!

Can I lose my pride when my children don’t perform as I had hoped? So often I am tempted to react out of embarrassment – my child is not going to say hello, my child is 5 and still throwing tantrums. Sacrificial parenting will lose the pride and not mind the embarrassment but work on the behaviour at home! My pride can not get in the way of training my children. I need to count the cost!

Can I be content at home, full time parenting, when so many other opportunities knock on my door? Can I surrender myself and my life to being the best mother God intended me to be? I need to count the cost!

Little by little I will need to make changes in my life, my habits and my attitude as I start to looking at the cost of this project I have started – building children with character and morals, children who will stand tall in their society. Children, who I pray, will turn around one day and call me blessed. (Proverbs 31)

Note: This article was written in 2001 when my children were approximately 8, 6, 4, 2. Looking over who I am now, I have a different set of “costs to pay” – but the challenge is still there.

Parenting comes at a cost. To be effective we must be prepared to sacrifice some things in order to be available to our children's lives.

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