DIG Deep Parenting…heavy duty shovel required!
I have been thinking a lot about the concept of ‘Digging Deep’ and how it relates to our day to day roll as parents, guardians, and caregivers. This by no means is a comprehensive treatment of the subject. My goal always is to have my posts short, but hopefully thought provoking…so here you go…
Remember what DIG Deep stands for? Get:
Now, lets take that apart a little and apply it to parenting…
My Mom always has said, “Parenting is a skill. You constantly need to be learning more and working at it to be the best you can be.” As we all know, Mom is always right. In the words of my Dad, “You can’t just ‘fly by the seat of your pants.'” I would add to that– “You can’t fly by the seat of your pants if you want a desirable outcome (AKA kids who grow up to be competent, contributing, resilient, kind etc.) Parenting gurus, Linda and Richard Eyre (whose teaching and writing I love,) call it ‘Purposful Parenting.’ Of course, there are not guarantees…God has given us all the right to choose our own way,
unfortunately that applies to our kids too. However, we must try our hardest to do our best at what is the most important thing we have to do as parents, which is to love, teach protect, and nurture our kids.
SO, how can we be deliberate in our parenting? There is no set pattern that works for everyone. The point is to put effort into it, think about it, plan, adjust, retry and retry again–just like any other type of ‘project.’ I remember my 5th Grade teacher explaining the steps of accomplishing our big Science Research Assignments: “First make sure you understand and outline the PURPOSE of the project. Then create your PLAN as to how you are going to achieve that purpose. Then CARRY OUT that plan. Lastly REVIEW how the project went and LEARN how you could make improvements.” (Thanks, Ms Nilan!) This can be done on many different planes with parenting–for your family as a whole, and for individual children. What is a good example of deliberate parenting? Here you go:
PURPOSE: I want to raise kids who recognize the value of work, know how to work, and learn responsibility and stewardship.. PLAN: Assign age appropriate chores to the kids around the house.-Call the chores ‘responsibilities’ so they understand that taking care of the house is part of being a member of the family, is for everyone’s benefit, and also give them a sense of positive pride over what they are ‘responsible for.’ CARRY OUT: Decide on and put in place a system to assign/track the responsibilities of each member of the family. REVIEW/LEARN: See how it is working, make changes as necessary when necessary…
REMEMBER you can’t make huge changes all in one day, and many outcomes won’t be realized for years–even decades. We don’t have to ‘do everything right,’ in fact mistakes are great (even vital!) -if we learn from them!… but we do have to be deliberate if we want to achieve our purpose…
(This is the DoDots Family System–I Love it!)
This ties in greatly to the PURPOSE of your ‘Get Deliberate’ part. Why is it that you are doing what you are doing? Knowing “THE WHY” behind what we do is VITAL! …Why is it that when we cradle that sleeping newborn in our arms, we are filled with so much love and joy that we can not even express it! Yet, a few short years down the road that same little cherub can have us completely at our wits end and more frustrated than we can even express! Hahahaha…I know that for me, reminding myself of that angelic little baby, each child’s noble soul, and those feelings of love and devotion can really help reset and reframe the craziness of the ‘hard days.’ I do this in different ways. I have baby pictures up on the walls (yes, even of the teens,) I pray for my kids by name every day (usually multiple times.) I periodically go back and look at scrapbooks and read old Journal entries (doing this WITH the kids is always a great ‘connection moment.’) And I have even (yes, I am admitting this to you,) found a secluded corner of the house and half talked to myself, half prayed to remind myself how innately good “so-and-so” is on the inside…and to plead for help of course….
(Yes, me and my sweet Camilla…yes, hanging on my wall…)
There is no waiting till your perfect, or till you have the perfect plan! -Get going! Start today–What IS your purpose? Why IS it so important? What are YOU going to do today? Start with a small goal: “I want to show more love to my kids daily so I am going to hug my kids at least once every day.” Whatever it is, know that it is the small things that usually make the biggest differences….
Here is one last quote that I love from Brene Brown:
“When it comes to parenting, the practice of framing mother and fathers as good or bad is both rampant and corrosive… The real questions for parents should be: “Are you engaged? Are you paying attention?” If so, plan to make lots of mistakes and bad decisions. Imperfect parenting moments turn into gifts as our children watch us try to figure out what went wrong and how we can do better next time.” –Daring Greatly pg. 15
(My Camilla now…she’s right–BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!)