First Things First ~ Parenting with Purpose

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If your personal satisfaction is the priority of your own life, you will sacrifice the next generation. ~ Ron Mehl

Let’s face it: parenting is tough.  It involves personal sacrifice, maturity and focus.  There are decisions to be made, fires to be put out, and those growing children never seem to stop eating.  Parenting is not for the faint-of-heart.

So, how do we parent well?  How do we stay on goal with a task that will reap eternal consequences for generations?  (Did that make you nervous?  It makes me a tiny bit squirmy!)

In parenting, in homeschooling, in living the Christian life, it’s important to have priorities.  It’s important to be intentional.

If I sit in a canoe, grab an oar, push out into a river, then promptly fall asleep … I’m going to be in trouble.  Right?

It won’t take long for me to hit rapids.  That’s when things get ugly quick.

By prioritizing according to Scripture, we can manage to stay awake through the rapids of childhood.  I talk about that quite a bit in Map in Hand: Setting the Course for Intentional Parenting.

More than anything else, I struggle to remember that parenting is not about me God has given my husband and I four incredible children to steward.  We’ve been entrusted with both an incredible gift, and an incredible responsibility.  How we parent our children really will affect generations to come.

It’s so very easy to abdicate my role… to teachers, to the television, to the neighborhood kids, to culture.  Yet, the responsibility to train up my children in the way they should go rests clearly with me, and with my husband.

Our goal?  To show our children we love them, and to point them to Jesus. 

When I remember this priority, decision-making is a whole lot easier.  Math is important, but not as important as instructing my children’s hearts.  Friendship is important, but not as important as communicating my love for my family.  Our schedule is important, but not as important as their spiritual questions.

Parenting is tough.  A few biblical priorities make it a whole lot easier.

What priorities have you established in your family?  How do you ensure that you are parenting with purpose?

~ Danika Cooley

Danika Cooley is a freelance children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr., Pockets, Devozine, Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey and in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters.  

This post is linked to The Better Mom, A Mama’s Story, Raising Arrows , Make Life Meaningful , These Five of Mine Plus Two, What Joy is Mine and The Modest Mom Blog.


  1. says

    Thanks for this great analogy- it’s so important to remind ourselves of this goal when the going gets tough. Often we live in the stresses of the ‘here and now’ and forget our larger calling and purpose.

  2. Debbie says

    In parenting our boys, now all grown, it was so helpful to keep three things in mind.
    The first was that we were NOT raising children; we WERE raising adults.
    The second was the mission statement we had been challenged to develop for our parenting. Our mission statement was ‘To raise men capable and equipped to lead God’s people.’ However God would choose to use them, we wanted them prepared as best we were able do.
    Lastly, we kept in mind that to accomplish our mission, to raise men, we would need the Lord’s help. We would need to pray, to seek God’s wisdom, to rely on the Word and Holy Spirit for guidance, and we would need to point our boys to Jesus and teach them to do all of these same things.

  3. says

    Danika…Amen! Parenting IS about our children and teaching their hearts to live unto the glory of God in all they say and do. It does take commitment, consistency and lots of love. Parenting also calls for prayer and studying the Word on our part. Thank you for sharing this at What Joy Is Mine.

    • says

      Sadie ~

      Thanks so much for the comment. Parenting is the hardest job I’ve ever LOVED! But I have to remind myself all the time that my priority is to train up my children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. I’m easily distracted…

      ~ Danika

  4. says

    I get asked all the time how I have the patience to raise so many children. And my answer is always that I don’t…but He does and He offers freely from His endless supply. Parenting is intense, but rich with eternal rewards! Excellent post!

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