If you read many business, parenting or leadership books, you will eventually encounter several authors who suggest you can’t really achieve your goals without a mission statement. Now I’m not one for all that formality, but the principle is not bad. If you don’t know where you are headed with your parenting, how will you know how to get there?
Google “creating a mission statement” and I am sure you will find a gazillion articles walking you through the process. I am going to save you a ton of time. This is the only mission statement you need as a Christian parent: “I want to parent in such a way that my children and my future descendants spend eternity in Heaven.”
I know some of you are wondering about raising them to be independent or happy or successful or a ton of other adjectives. I promise you every goal you have for your kids fits under the above mission statement in one of three ways:
- The goals are part of your child eventually spending eternity in Heaven. Want your child to become a Christian? Hope your child is honest? Want a child who serves others? Hope your child has a strong work (not works!) ethic? Want a child who is patient, kind, self-controlled, gentle or a host of other things? Want your child to discover and develop his talents? If you are parenting in such a way that your children will eventually spend eternity in Heaven, then you will be teaching them to obey God. We talk about grace a lot these days in Church, but the reality is God has always had rather high standards for His people. Trust me, if you are working your mission statement, your child will have a great chance at meeting all of your goals (at least most of the time!) in this category.
- The goals are blessings that often come from serving God. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of the so-called “prosperity gospel”. I don’t think putting a hundred dollars in the collection plate will necessarily get you a brand new car. I do believe though God does bless His people. There are enough verses in the Old and New Testament to support the concept. Will things still go wrong for your kids? Absolutely, because we live in a fallen world. If your kids are living a godly life though, the odds of them feeling fulfilled, making the world a better place, leaving a meaningful legacy and more are a very real possibility. A strong Christian connected to God will feel loved and at peace. God even has been known to send Christians on godly adventures that include travel and life changing experiences. I feel like most of us if we really thought about it realize God also blesses us with some of those “selfish” things we want more than we actually acknowledge.
- The goals are not godly goals. This is going to sound harsh, but it’s very true for many of us. Some of our goals aren’t really godly. Worse yet some of our goals may actually begin to move our kids away from God. Want your kids to have a big house, nice car and clothes? Sorry. God may bless them with those things, but if they live their life chasing material things, chances are great they will replace God eventually. The same can be said for many other seemingly innocent goals for your kids. In some cases they may be in God’s plan for your child. Unfortunately though, if you start making your child believe the goal is the most important thing by how you spend your money, time and energy, then there is a very great risk your child will eventually make that goal their idol.
I think you can see how valuable this mission statement can be for your family. Filter every decision through it. Does this decision bring my children closer to God or is there a very great risk it will move them away from God? Be brutally honest. If it’s not helping you fulfill your mission as a Christian parent – jettison it. Nothing is worth failing your mission statement.