Intentional Parenting, leveraging teachable moments

Author Wayne Muller wrote, 

“I’m so busy.”  We say this to one another with no small degree of pride, as if our exhaustion were a trophy, our ability to withstand stress a mark of real character.  The busier we are, the more important we seem to ourselves, and we imagine to others.  To be unavailable to our friends and family to be unable to find time for the sunset, to whiz through our obligations without time for a single, mindful breath, this has become the model of a successful life.”  

But is it really?  Who misses out in this scenario?  Everyone, and in particular for those of us who are parents, our kids.  

An interesting thing happened to me this morning.  I was sitting in my office reading and having quiet time as I usually do each morning.  When my two young daughters (now 4 and 2 respectively) opened the door.  It was only about 6:30am (they have a knack for waking up early when they have nowhere to be, and sleeping in when we have to be off to school!).  I was still in the middle of my prayer time so I usually would have carted them off back down the hall to either their room or propped them up in front of the TV somewhere until I could finish.

Today instead, I choose to let them stay.  They crawled up under the big blanket that I was nestled in, both with their thumbs in mouth, and watched and listened as I prayed and read.  At one point, Riley asked me what I was doing…and then it happened.  A teachable moment presented itself.  You have to watch out for those opportunities, sometimes they sneak up on you when you least expect it.    

So, I told her, I’m reading about the importance of modeling commitment as a leader, and I’m praying that God would help me become a more committed husband, father, leader, ect.  Of course then I had to explain what the word commitment meant (she’s already familiar with the idea of prayer and the concept of reading to learn new things).  After my explanation, she didn’t say anything else, both of them just sat there as if whatever I’d said was rationale enough.

Who knows how much of this specific instance they’ll remember, but it is a helpful reminder that they’re always watching.  Right now, at this age, they’re sponges.  I said the word “crap” the other day in a fit of frustration and it became all the rage with my 2 girls.  They’re watching and listening. Probably more important in the moment from what I said, was what I was doing. It’s the simple fact that they’ll simply remember walking into the office in the morning and remember the times when they’re father was reading and praying, living out his faith daily. That’s the real lesson in this experience.  


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