The term “Intentional parenting” is a term you may have heard but did not recognize or understand its meaning or importance. Some synonyms for the word intentional are: deliberate, on purpose, planned, premeditated, calculated. As a parent when I hear the term “intentional parenting” I like to think, “Of course I am an intentional parent; none of this happens by accident.”
So what does it mean to be an intentional parent? Simply it means that as parents we recognize our time with our children is limited and precious, so that we choose to make each moment matter because there can be a long lasting impact on our children from how we decide to use that time.
It was just the other day I was sitting holding Daniel (our eight month old) and watching my other two boys play. As I held the baby I looked at my oldest boy Joseph, who is now six, and I began to tear up because it seemed like just yesterday that I was holding him in my arms. As a parent the days can seem so very long, yet somehow the years speed right by. So now I am always asking myself: “What am I doing with the precious opportunities I’ve been given to impact and influence my kids?”
I believe this focus is at the very heart of intentional parenting. How are we spending our time together? What are we deliberately discussing, modeling, and teaching? Are we intentionally imparting Godly wisdom and providing spiritual guidance? Are we showing them, and each other, the love of Christ?
When Moses instructed the Israelites to teach God’s wisdom to the next generation he put an emphasis on being deliberate. “You shall teach [Scripture] diligently to your children, and shall talk of [it] when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:7)
Thankfully good parenting does not require perfection in this or any area, but it does require us to be deliberate. In next month’s Kerusso we will take a more in-depth look at how to do this by examining three aspects of intentional parenting: relationship, attentiveness, and instruction.