First, that she would have a keen ability to discern between dark and light, and would by God’s grace, choose to walk in the light. We also prayed that she would know who she is, that she would have a strong backbone and sense of self. The jury is still out on the first, but the latter is already true in full force. My little girl is a force to be reckoned with. She can be as sweet as apple pie, slowly lulling you into thinking that she just might be easy going, then boom! She will tell you exactly what she thinks about what is going on, what she is going to do about it, and then take off down her chosen path without so much as a glance over her shoulder to see if you’re coming.
I am totally in love with my little Napoleon.
An ongoing conversation between my wife and I starts with this question: “How do we raise up our strong little girl so that she would flourish, without breaking her independent spirit?”
We want her fire to stay intact, because we believe it will serve her (and others) well. Yet, like all of us, she lives in a world with inherent rules and boundaries. Her mama and daddy are responsible for her learning where the lines are. Even though sometimes it would be easier to let her get away with ‘it’ then to re-direct her.
When people ask us if she’s an easy kid (whatever that means), we look at each other and laugh. There’s nothing easy about raising a strong-willed child, but we wouldn’t trade her fiery spirit for anything. She is a total and complete gift to her mother and me.
Developing a parenting philosophy that you and your spouse agree upon is an on-going and ever-evolving process.
Many of us come into parenting with pre-conceived ideas about how awesome we’re going to be and how great our kiddos will turn out. Then life happens. It’s important to stay adaptable and flexible and to learn as we go and grow.
While the needs of our kids may change from season to season, our hopes for them should remain steadfast.
It goes without saying that my greatest hope is that they know, and walk with, Jesus. This is very specific, and frankly, life or death. However, I realize that it is not my job to save my kids. That responsibility belongs in the capable hands and heart of the Father. While I cannot give my kids the gift of salvation, I can usher them towards participation in the Kingdom. That begins with the environment I raise them in, and flows out of my broader hope that they would flourish. In that light, here are three of my hopes for each of my kiddos:
- That they would know who they are.
- That they would know they are loved.
- That they would live with purpose.
As parents who follow Jesus we have the sacred privilege of unleashing our kids in the world, not protecting them from the world. If you have not already, take some time to cast vision for your kiddos.
What do you hope for them?
What are the core values you want them to leave your home with?
For the past few months I’ve been sitting on a word from a guy I really respect, Bob Goff, author of Love Does and Multi-Careering. He said the following:
“A father’s job is to get down on both knees, lean over his children’s lives, and whisper, ‘Where do you want to go?’”
What do you hope for your children?
and my hope is in you all day long.
By Matt Thomas
Husband to Shannon, Dad to Piper and Boone
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Owner and Executive Director of Expedition Backcountry Adventures