Big Picture Parenting

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By Patrick Showers, Associate Elementary Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

In the midst of parenting, I tend to focus on the here and now. Between my wife and I, our idea of getting a big picture in our parenting is to update our calendars with all the events, practices, programs, and activities that people in our family have committed to for the next few months. Even this simple task feels like an amazing feat.

Early in our marriage, however, my wife and I were fortunate to have a group of friends that were intentional about creating a big picture of what they wanted of their marriage and their family as well as what they wanted their kids to be like as adults. We were amazed at this idea, but in the midst of diapers, late night feedings, and making sure we didn’t lose any kids it seemed beyond our reach.

A short time later, my wife’s grandfather passed away. Through the stories from friends and family members, we began to see how his purposeful life created a vision for his family and the long-term effect was a lasting legacy that continued in the grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

So, we began to create a simple vision statement, first for our marriage and then for our family. Every few years we go away for a few days to pray and reflect on this vision. Sometimes it needs modification, and sometimes we need to modify our life choices.

How would you answer the question: “What do you want your child to be like as an adult?” What parts of your identity, life, values, and faith do you want to ensure continues in the life of your child as a lasting legacy?

It’s too easy to get caught up in the daily busyness of life and miss opportunities to train, invest, and encourage our children.   Maybe now is a good time to step back for a moment and reflect on the big picture.

I’ve provided a few tips and suggestions I’ve gleaned over the years. There is a lot of info on the web, as well. First, though I would suggest you start with a few ideas and then flesh them out without worrying about formatting or cohesiveness. Afterwards, post it somewhere in your house as a reminder to be intentional and to take in the big picture. Here are a few questions to help you get started.

  • What values would you like to instill in your children?
  • What Biblical truths does your child need to be a life long Christ follower?
  • What do you want them to be like?
  • What will their faith look like?

Create a Vision Statement: Write out a statement that expresses the whole of what you want your child to be as an adult. Details can be added later, but this is a simple word picture.

List: Think of faith skills you want your child to have and how you want to integrate their spiritual growth into your family’s daily routine. Consider what elements of spiritual formation are most important for you to focus upon during the time you have available as a family.

Example: We started by listing spiritual and faith elements we wanted our kids to have, know, or have integrated into their daily life with our family.

Our kids would…

  • Have a thriving and active relationship with Jesus
  • Be able to know and hear God’s voice, discerning it from other voices
  • Desire to obey God when they hear His voice
  • Obey God through the power of the Holy Spirit, not just on their own.
  • Love and serve God with all their strength, hearts, minds, and souls (Mark 12:30)
  • Discern that the Bible is true, relevant, and that its words can be applied to our daily lives
  • Know that the Bible and God are exciting!
  • Shift from self centeredness (sin) to others-centeredness (right related/living out God’s agape love)
  • Know how to study God’s word, pray, worship, share, and serve.
  • Reflect God’s love in all their relationships: school, friends, family, and daily interactions in the world.
  • Value being surrounded by faith-filled peers who can speak into each other’s lives (accountability, community, and growth)

Creating a Vision Statement for your children’s spiritual growth not only gives you as a parent a goal and focus, but it also provides a lasting point of reference you can continue to use and adapt as your kids grow.

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