Parenting With The Endgame In Mind

Holding their little hands and walking alongside these two in this season of life is crazy, beautiful, my greatest joy…and such a special opportunity

I love weddings. There’s nothing quite as sweet as being a part of such a meaningful moment in someone’s life. And the thickness of love that fills that space! How surreal it is to have so many who have loved and poured into you all in one place at one time.

Perhaps it was because we had our kiddos with us, but I found myself hugging them extra tight as the bride was given away, as toasts were made, and as they each danced with their parents. In fact, there was such a sweet moment when the groom teared up while dancing with his mother. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before, and the love, appreciation, and respect he had for his mama was so genuine and sweet it made me cry too.

At work, when I’m developing strategies and business plans, we often start with the endgame in sight, and that determines every action we take. Yet, it dawned on me – how often are we approaching our parenting this way? Whether it is the wedding, or the moment your child leaves home, or even further down the road at the end of our lives or their lives – when it’s all said and done, what do we hope our children will walk away with? What legacy do we want to leave? What do we want them to remember? What do we hope will be said in those speeches? What do we hope about how our relationship will be? What does success look like?

It can be so easy to get swept up in the day to day, to be driven by our own needs or desires in the moment. Yet my children are learning, observing, soaking up every little thing I do and say, incorporating that into their interpretation of the world. The influence we have on their lives cannot be overstated. It is a joyful burden, a privilege, and a window of opportunity in these formative years we have with them.

Some questions I’ve been reflecting on:

  • What types of values do I want to instill in my kids?
  • What types of qualities do I hope they will embody? That those they encounter will know them by?
  • What types of habits or norms do I hope they will take with them?
  • What lens do I hope they will make their choices with, including their choice of spouse?
  • What do I want my kids to think of when they think of their experience growing up?
  • How do I hope our relationship will be like?
  • What do I hope my kids will remember of me?

Before my second child was born, my husband and I went through an exercise of writing out our values (another post for another day). It brought so much clarity and felt refreshing to have it written down. Plus, it was incredibly helpful to both be on the same page about what we were driving towards. My hope is for both of us to also process through these questions – individually at first, and then to come together and articulate our shared thoughts. That way, we may then evaluate how what we do on a day-to-day basis aligns against these and, if needed, to determine what changes we need to make to really live in to these.

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