What do I mean by parenting with the end in mind?
By Parenting with the End in Mind, I mean to decide where you want to end up, at the end if this parenting journey, and come up with a plan, step by step for how to get there. This is basically the same as setting any goals in life.
Now, before you think I’m talking about becoming a helicopter parent who hyper-controls their poor adult child’s life…no!
No, no, no. That kind of behavior makes me irked. Kids grow up — let them!
Parenting with the End in mind does not mean deciding what kind of career your kid will have, or forcing them into your own little mold, or giving them some impossible standard to live up to.
What Parenting with the End in Mind Means
What I do mean by parenting with the end in mind is deciding on what habits, skills, and character traits you feel are important, which you want to help your child learn in their childhood, so they can apply them to any career or life path they might be on.
We’re talking generic stuff, like diligence, generosity, and having a caring heart.
We’re talking life skills, like how to check the fluids in your car so the engine block doesn’t crack.
Things like that.
Limitations to Parenting with the End in Mind
There are limitations of course.
Every individual is just that — an individual. I have some kids that almost naturally have certain character traits. I have other kids that are so far opposite those. I’m not going to be able to make a naturally scattered person super organized, however, I can give them some help to be less disorganized.
The main goal here is not perfection, but having something to aim at. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. This is giving us something to aim at as parents, not something to obsess over.The main goal for parenting goals is not perfection, but having something to aim at. Click To Tweet
Getting Started Parenting with the End in Mind
1. Decide what is important to you
This all starts with deciding what things you value, and you believe your kids need to know or at least experience before they hit adulthood and leave the nest. This is similar to creating a personal mission statement, as I wrote about here.
Some of them might be character related, such as developing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) or learning to be diligent at work.
Some may be fun, such as going to the library every so many weeks, or visiting a museum.
Some might be tied to skills, such as basic maintenance on a car. My parents didn’t let me get my license until I could change a flat tire. I was not happy about this…until I was stuck somewhere with no phone and a flat tire.
2. Create an Action Plan
After deciding what you want to aim at, create a loose action plan. Are some things more important than others? Which ones on that list can you start with right now?
3. Set Up Some Annual Goals
Without biting off more than you can chew, decide which of these long-term goals you want to work on this year. Don’t pull out too many of those, of course. You don’t want to be overwhelmed. However, decide on what you feel you can handle for this year.
4. Short Term Planning
Next, using that list, decide what steps you can take right now, this month, this week, this day.
The idea is this: You create the big goal, then work backward from it. So, if part of your big, long-term goal is for you to have kids who are diligent for example, what things need to change or be started this week to work towards that goal slowly? You can’t just do a three point sermon to your kid on diligence and expect it to click. Diligence is a habit (and so is laziness).
When it comes to fun things, if I want the kids to experience some of what I love such as visiting museums, when I’m planning my year I look up exhibits, concerts, or cultural events in my area for the coming year, and we decide which ones to go to. Now that the kids are older now and have their own interests and personalities, they are part of the planning process.