I use the phrase "carve a groove" often when talking to parents about the difficult job of raising kids. I believe it creates a mental picture of what it takes to move our kids successfully from "crib to college." Simply put, whatever we say or do most consistently becomes the groove we carve for our kids.
Just like the patterns you developed from your parents, these "grooves" are hard to break - for better or worse. This explains many of the bad and good habits we carry with us throughout life...unless, that is, we find a way to carve new grooves as adults, which is possible but very difficult.
As parents we have the opportunity now to carve good, helpful and Biblical grooves for our kids to set them up for the best future possible. The key is that we remember this is a work that requires two great forces that, when combined, carve the grooves you want your kids to develop.
1. Intentionality: We must parent on purpose. we must not only be reactive parents, but we must also be proactive parents. We need to think about those traditions, values, principles, attitudes and habits we want our kids to develop. We must think about the age-appropriate lessons our kids need now that will contribute to the big picture of the preferred life direction we have for our kids.
2. Consistency: Based on our intentional planning, we must devise the specific methods to develop these traditions, values, principles, attitudes and habits into our kids lives. Our methods must be simple enough to implement in a consistent manner. If you are married, this will require coordination with your spouse. Nothing robs consistency like spouses who disagree on the approach to training kids.
3. Endurance: Though endurance may be assumed in the definition of consistency, I feel it is important to note separately. In the process of "carving grooves" for our kids, we must not give up. We must trust the process. We must be committed through temper tantrums, whining, crying, complaining, attitudes, slammed doors and yes, even the classic line, "I hate you." You are the parent, and you must not give up on training your kids.
When you embrace the "carve a groove" approach to parenting, you will see your kids begin to change. Some kids take longer than others...some of you passed on your hard-headedness to your kids! Stay the course, carve a groove and remember you have 7000days.
If you've missed any part of the Tightrope parenting series, check it out here. The series continues this Sunday at Highpoint Church at 9 and 10:45.
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