Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Begin Parenting with the Adult in Mind … Applying the Roadmap

“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.” ~ Earl Nightingale

Time to Begin

If you have been following this series (click here to see the first post in Begin Parenting with the Adult in Mind) and doing the work I’ve outlined, you are ready to get to it! You are ready to begin parenting like a builder builds, plans in hand, knowing how to accomplish the project.

But first, let’s review the 4 STEPS you’ve taken so far:

1. You looked to universal principles and core family values as you thought about who you want your children to end up being.

2. You thought through, and maybe even prayerfully considered, those values, rearranging the order by which you considered their importance.

3. You created an emotionally compelling vision of who your children will be as adults at the end of what you started the day your little ones were born.

4. You drew up a blueprint. You were the architect. You poured the proverbial foundation and are now ready to build.

This is quite an accomplishment. The preliminary work has now been done. So what are we waiting for? Let’s begin moving down that road, building character, teaching values, constructing the adult we’ve envisioned.

If you skipped any part of the process, please pause here and click on any of the following links and do the work necessary to create the Roadmap that will increase the likelihood of raising children to be awesome adults – responsible, courageous, kind, loving, compassionate, good (or, of course, if you are without children, create a Roadmap for your own life!)

Step #3 to Begin Parenting with the Adult in Mind
Step #4 to Begin Parenting with the Adult in Mind

It is so easy to get caught up in the thick of thin things, to be heavily invested in activities that are of little real consequence, to get buried and squeezed in the daily grind of living. Little daily things crowd out the things that matter most about life and living.

Right-here-and-now perspectives fail to do one critical thing: while they look at what is happening now, focusing on where our feet are as we stand and walk and run, they fail to determine if the path we are on is the path that will lead to the place we want to go!

Running with our eyes on our feet often leads to moral bumps and spiritual bruises, wrong turns, dead ends and occasional unexpected cliffs.

It doesn’t matter how much we enjoy the path we are travelling if, at the end of the day, we find we have arrived at the wrong place!

I remember sitting down in a church during the funeral services of a friend, then standing back up and walking out red-faced when I realized it was the wrong funeral. Yes, very embarrassing! We don’t want to end up at the wrong proverbial address because we failed to appropriately plan to be at the right one!

The parental planning I’ve outlined in the previous posts in this series looks at the end of the road first. It asks questions about where we want to go in the first place. It examines that destination against principles and values that will ensure where we are aiming is not a violation of our core values and beliefs or of universal truths.

Individualize … as needed

You may want to think about individualizing your Roadmaps. Over time, consider creating an individual Roadmap for each of your kids, adapting the tools and maybe even adapting some of the principles and values to the circumstances, needs, concerns and unique conditions of each child.

While many or most of the values you ended up with on your Roadmap are universal principles, the specific ways they can be applied may be adaptable.

Final Thoughts

Whether you have one Master Roadmap for all your children, or you individualize several for your kids, muster the courage needed “to press on to your destination.”

But keep in mind that as we steer our family down the Roadmap toward desired ends, there will be dips and potholes, detours and abrupt emergency stops in the middle of moral highways. This is, after all, life. The point of the Roadmap is not to change the nature of life and free will and temptation and the like, but to increase the likelihood of success in spite of such things.

The Roadmap is a guide. When the guide doesn’t fit, update it. 

Return tomorrow for some ideas on how to use what you’ve created!

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