The New Year is a time of reflection, which often includes the desire to improve our lives. My mother passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago and it has caused me to evaluate her influence on me. As I have reflected on her life I identified five specific things she taught me about parenting.
Set aside time each week to spend with your family, make it sacrosanct, and let nothing get in the way. Play games, have family counsels, or take time to teach each other something new. Let each member of your family participate in planning and carrying out your weekly activity.
For young children, spend time each day reading to them. In addition to secular stories spend time reading the scriptures. My Mother spent time each night with my brother and I reading scripture stories and other books. It is some of my most cherished memories of our time together and it had an enormously positive impact on my life.
Set standards and stick to them. Teach your children early what your expectations are and remain faithful to them throughout your life. This path will not be effortless, unless your children are “pod children” they will not make it easy on you. They will challenge you and test your resolve to hold to what you have established as a code of appropriate living. If you are resolute in your efforts your children will come to respect you and will be grateful for the structure you have given their lives.
Pray with your children, no matter what your religious convictions. Communicating with God will give your children a spiritual foundation that will help them overcome their personal challenges.
Set a goal to be more faithful to your family, not only in your actions but in your thoughts. If you have any problems with pornography, make a commitment to rid yourself of this modern plague. The Proverb “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7 KJV) is as applicable now as it was then.
This year as we are making New Year’s resolutions to exercise or lose weight, perhaps we should also evaluate how we can improve as parents. Our time with our children is fleeting. Set resolutions this year that will produce lasting enhancements in your life and that of your children.