15 May Parenting with Purpose: How to Make the Most of Your Time with Your Kids
WRITTEN BY: Emily Copeland
When we welcome someone into our home, it’s not uncommon to receive questions about the two jars of marbles on display. The cool thing about that is it gives us an opportunity to share our vision for intentional parenting. In other words, it gives us a chance to talk about parenting with purpose.
It’s hard to believe it now, but we had nearly a thousand marbles in each jar when we first began. That was enough to represent every week from birth to eighteen for both of our kids. All these years later, our jars are more empty than full. That’s because we remove a marble from each jar every Monday to remind us to make the most of the moments we have with our children.
It’s a little surreal to see the marbles going away, but it’s a helpful visual reminder to use our time with our kids wisely. In fact, it’s a reminder to parent with purpose.
Purposeful parenting may seem overwhelming considering all the things we juggle in the course of a week. The good news is that none of this involves being perfect and always getting it right. Instead, it’s a matter of leading, being present, and remembering the end goal.
1. Lead by example
At its core, parenting with purpose is leading by example. That said, there must be an awareness of the example we give. First Timothy 4:16 NLT puts it this way:
“Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.”
Our children watch how we respond to the world around us. They learn how to treat their family, friends, and neighbors by watching how we treat ours. They also learn how to love and serve others when we give them opportunities to serve with us, like through Code Red.
Leading by example happens by default simply because we do life alongside our kids. That means our good and bad are on display more often than not, which means honesty, ownership, and admission go a long way when we fall short or flat-out fail.
By taking ownership of our mistakes, we can lead with a posture of humility that shows our kids that we are always learning and growing just as they are. More importantly, it shows them that we aren’t asking anything of them that God doesn’t ask of us.
2. Be present.
Let’s face it. Countless things are grabbing our attention at any given time. Whether it’s something at work, family commitments, or the pressures of being sure the kids are actually fed, clean, and clothed, it’s no wonder we always feel like we have a thousand things running through our minds.
If that doesn’t make things challenging enough, the cell phones in our pockets allow us to access nearly anything and anyone almost instantly. While that can be helpful at times, it also means we have a steady stream of notifications and updates competing with our time and attention.
That’s where the simple advice to be present comes into the picture. Presence is not an easy task, but parenting with purpose means that we aim for our mental presence to match our physical presence. It means to be wherever your feet are.
3. Parent with the end in mind.
On the hard days, the good days, and everything in between, a key to parenting with purpose is remembering what we want our children to be.
We all may word it differently, but ultimately we want our children to be difference-makers. We want them to be world changers. We want them to be life-giving people with a heart for God and others. None of this is an overnight process, but it starts with speaking to them in a way that already identifies them as those things.
In closing, remember that we step into purposeful parenting by leading by example, being fully present when we’re together, and approaching each day with the end in mind. Better yet, we don’t have to face any stage of parenting alone. Journey Kids and Journey Students are there to help navigate it.
And remember, we only get so many marbles in each of our jars. Regardless of where you are on your parenting journey, it’s never too late to begin parenting with purpose.
Need some encouragement in this area? Check out the Open Mic series!
Emily Copeland/Plugged-In J-Teamer
Emily moved to Journey City in December 2022 with her husband James and their two kids to prepare for The Journey’s Middletown location launch. In addition to serving at The Journey, you can find her homeschooling their kids or working on her communications degree. She also writes at TableLifeBlog where she shares tips and resources to help others lead well while educating their children at home.
Alfred Robert CeaserPosted at 12:59h, 21 May
Emily. I love your purpose and strategy for managing our children’s live and our own. Very thoughtful and wonderful posting! Love you guys!