I listened to a podcast the other day that when we think about raising our children, we should remember that we are not raising perfect children, but purposed children. Perfectly behaved children who immediately obey all those little commands that bark out from our mouths cannot be our definition of parenting success.
There are so many days when I get caught up in those little things:
"Pick up your clothes from the floor."
"Did you do your homework?"
"Tidy up your room."
"You didn't make your bed."
"Don't tease your sister."
"Hang up your coat!"
"Wet mitts can't stay in your bag."
If I'm being honest, 90% of what I say to direct my children falls into this category. But when I really consider it, if my children suddenly behaved in all these areas, would I consider it a job well done? Would I think that I had done everything exactly right in raising my children? Would I consider it a success?
The real answer is no. Tidy, quiet, well-behaved children makes for a quiet, well-run home, but it does not make for children who mature into stable, serving, contributing adults in our community. It does not make leaders who shake off the chains of habit and complacency and make real change in this world. It does not make servants of God's kingdom who really see those suffering around them. It does not make smart, critical and creative thinkers who can make wonderful discoveries and advancements in their field.
This - this is what I want for my children, and I can see how "purposed" instead of "perfect" children is how to get there. I want my children to look inward and see who they really are, the talents they have and gifts they can give. I want to help them cultivate a vision for their lives, to discover their purpose here in this world and set them on the course to fulfill that vision.
And if I'm to do that, I need to readjust those every day foci I have as a mother.