Monday, January 9, 2012

Purposeful Parenting

I'm all about living propose fully these days and to me, living purposefully is all about putting thought into everything you do. That sounds like a no brainer. I mean, we only have one life and none of us know how long we have, so who would want to waste their time, coasting through life thoughtlessly? You might be surprised by the answer. Coasting through life thoughtlessly is a habit and once started, can be a hard one to break away from. I, personally, spent at least 6 years of my life in this manner and to this day catch myself in the act of acting thoughtlessly. Now that doesn't mean I catch myself doing anything immoral or illegal, just that I catch myself doing without knowing why I am doing what I am doing and I think knowing the why is just as important as the what. If you don't take the time to know why you do what you do then it's much easier to fall down that slippery slope of doing what "everyone else" is doing, which is sometimes ok and sometimes not. But how do you know if you are on the ok path or the not ok path if you don't put any thought into what you are doing?

The same concept transcends into the parenting arena. It seems to me that the more calm, cool and collected parents are those that put a great deal of forethought into their parenting. It also seems to me that parents in general used to put a lot more forethought into their lives prior to having children. First if all, it seems to me that more people married prior to conception and spent time getting to know each other and their own views and their spouse's views on children and child rearing prior to conception. Then when they conceived, they read all the books about what to expect when you're expecting and what to expect the first 4 years and how to shepherd your child's heart. People cared enough to plan what their children would eat, where they would play, what schools they would go to. Everything typical was planned for ahead of time, that way when the child rearing began, they had the time and patience to think about the situation and decide the best course of action to take when something out of the ordinary came up. This might explain why parents had less problems with 12 kids 100 years ago than parents today have with 2. And this is something that is much easier to do before you have kids because, let's face it, kids have a way of making it hard to think clearly.

I, on the other hand, was never going to have kids. So I never thought about how to raise the kids I was never going to have. Then I had my oldest daughter and I was hooked. And 7 years and 3 kids later, I still want more. And 7 years and 3 kids later, I really wish I had done the research and figured out my opinions and stances on parenting. I'm doing it now, but I can really see how it would have been a lot easier to read and comprehend without having to stop every other word or sentence to mother.

To me, the key to purposeful living is knowing yourself, your policies, your authority and then taking all that knowledge and turning it into action. I would be doing a lot better at living purposefully if I didn't find myself falling into old habits of doing without thinking, but I am getting there slowly but surely. Another key is knowing the purpose of your tools and resources. The purpose of parenting books is to provide you with information to help you decide how you want to handle parenting. To help you make up your own mind. To enable you to parent purposefully, not mindlessly.

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