Friday, February 12, 2010

Intentional Parenting

Play-Doh Meal Makin Kitchen

When I was young, I LOVED playdoh. I loved the feel of it, the smell of it, I loved how you could take a simple blob of nothingness and create whatever you wanted. The feeling of being the creator of something is quite powerful and invigorating, especially for a young child. Today as I was thinking about my role as Brayden's parent, and how I strive to be intentional with my parenting, it hit me. Brayden is like the playdoh God sent to me. God created this little blob in my belly, and then gave him to me in the form of an innocent little boy. It's now my job, responsibility and GIFT to mold him into the person God intended him to be. Molding takes intentionality... a sculptor can't just look at his clay and expect something to magically form. His movements, his strokes and his widdling have to be precise and intentional with the end result in mind. What a powerful thought!
When I think about playdoh, I think about the smooth feeling it has within my fingers as I form it to the shape I want it to become. Thankfully playdoh doesn't dry out quickly, as sometimes it takes a while to figure out what you're really supposed to do when you're creating. But it WILL dry out. Leave the lid cracked? The next time it will be harder, less pliable, or even worse, completely hardened. Therefore, it makes sense to start working on it right away. Molding it into the shape you want it to become, so that when it does dry out (as all playdoh will eventually, even with the greatest of care) it's finished product is far greater than the blob it started out as. 
This is how I view my parenting. I don't want to wait around for Brayden to be old enough to "understand" what is right from wrong... I have to teach him (and I have found that babies are far more intelligent that we give them credit for. Mark my words that my son knows when he is doing something he isn't supposed to!).  He is learning that we don't get into the cabinets. Not by me putting locks on the doors (which we will eventually do) but by me reinforcing that I expect him to stay out of them. He knows that when lights go out and the sound machine goes on that it is naptime. I molded him so that he knows that... he wasn't born wanting to nap! Before I had B, I knew I wanted him to sleep through the night at a relatively early age. So I started molding that right away by implementing BabyWise, adhering to a feeding schedule and structuring my day around how I wanted my son to sleep. Is it hard? Sure! Is it worth it? OF COURSE! My role as a parent (as I am finding out) will have it's joys, it's battles and it's valleys, but my job is to mold Brayden to become a responsible citizen who contributes to society, and a Godly young man who loves the Lord. I only have 18 years of him here in my home to help mold his character, so I better get my hands moving so that the dough doesn't become stagnant and dry out. It's awfully hard to make a sculpture with hard dough.

PS-- my intention in this post is not to shove a theory (like Babywise) down your throat or make you think that there's only one way to do things. Rather, it's to make a point that you have to be intentional NOW about how you want your kid to end up 1-18 years down the line. Good kids don't just magically happen... generally behind every good kid is a GREAT parent who has suffered a beaten brow to produce a well-mannered human being.

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