In her book, Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin discusses four basic type of people when it comes to goals. You can read her book for the details, but one of the conclusions she reaches is that all but the ”rebels” (who recoil at the mere idea of rules or accountability), can benefit from having accountability for working towards and reaching their goals.
Which made me wonder. Are we not as effective at reaching our Christian parenting goals because the church is no longer structured where we are to hold each other accountable as commanded in scripture? Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about controlling the lives of others or rigid accountability with serious consequences for not meeting goals. Those are cultish and not Christian practices.
What if, however, you and a fellow young parent agreed to touch base twice a week and share if you had been having family devotionals that week? Or an older woman agreed to have coffee with you once a week and hold you accountable for whether or not you were encouraging your kids to read the Bible independently or were praying together more as a family? What if you were in a small group of parents who committed to study specific Bible stories with your kids each week and then spent a few minutes of each small group meeting discussing how it went? Or what if you and another family agreed to sit together in church or go out to lunch after Bible class? Maybe even made reservations to a restaurant to add some more accountability to the mix?
According to Rubin, accountability can help if we are willing to share our goals with an accountability partner. Since her book was secular, she promoted hiring someone like a trainer, teacher or coach, because they would be more demanding and consistent than a friend or relative. If you can build it into a relationship where you already have consistent times in touch with each other, and you both agree on ground rules for the type of accountability and encouragement or “fussing” allowed, it could work almost as well.
If you have a Christian parenting goal that you struggle to reach, try adding accountability to the mix. It might just be the boost you need to finally give your kids those spiritual things you know they need.