Full confession here. New Year’s Eve and Day are two of my very least favorite holidays. I’m not a fan of dwelling on the past or putting undue pressure on myself for the future. Yet there is some value at times to doing just that – especially while you are trying your best to parent your kids towards God.
So take a few minutes over the next couple of days. Get your spouse to join you. Ship the kids off to Grandma’s, leave them with a sitter or wait until after they are in bed (New Year’s Eve parenting tip – celebrate New Year’s Eve in a time zone that allows your kids to stay up about an hour later than normal, but still gets them in bed at a reasonable hour. I think we found some islands in the Atlantic Ocean that worked for our time zone!). Grab some paper and pens.
Be brutally honest, but don’t beat yourself up about past mistakes. No parent is perfect – I’m sure our daughter could give you a nice healthy list of the mistakes we made raising her. Don’t gloss over reality though or make excuses. The past is in the past, but this is about making adjustments and corrections for the future. No matter how old your kids are, it’s never to late to improve how you parent them towards God.
After you capture regrets, write down some dreams for your kids’ spiritual growth over the next few months and years. Throw in the ways you would like to grow as a parent and as a Christian. You may even want to add some godly dreams for your family.
Then make a plan with your spouse (or yourself). What are some concrete things you can change or do to correct for the mistakes of the past and improve the spiritual path of you and your family over the next days, weeks and months? Which are easy fixes and for which will you need help and support? Who can mentor you or help you over the rough spots for the more difficult goals?
When you feel like you have gotten everything that has been swirling around in your head and heart on paper, pray about everything you wrote down. Ask God to help you parent your children towards Him. Pray He helps you continue to grow spiritually so you can help your children grow too. Then put the list where you can see it every morning when you wake up. If you have older children or teens, you may choose to share the list with them and ask for their input. (Sounds scary I know, but if they have input they may be more willing to accept and make changes.)
Then pull out the noisemakers and confetti. You are as ready as you can possibly be for Christian parenting in 2016!