As parents most of us want to be homerun hitters when it comes to raising our children. We want to hit a grand slam and knock the ball out of the park when it comes to parenting. In order to be that kind of parent our focus must be on the things that will improve our game…the things that matter. There are many options and we must choose carefully. Our focus will impact the areas of our children’s lives that allow them to grow up prepared to enter the world and eternity. It requires hustle and hard work, discipline, focus and resolve, but with God’s help we can step up to the plate and be the parent God has called us to be.

Scriptures
Pr 12:18, 15:23, 21:5; Eph 4:2; Deut 6:5-7

Verse
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deut 6:5-7)

Thought
The grand slam of parenting first requires encouragement. Encourage your child at every age and stage of life. You must be sure they know they are loved and valued for who they are. Correction and guidance are a must, but choose your words carefully; they will mark your child. Give your child opportunities to gain competence through performance. Learning at a young age that hard work and determination are needed for everything that matters is a gift that cannot be underrated. Learning that failure will come along with success is also a must. In addition, children need to learn how to relate to others, how to love and care for others, how to communicate and deal with conflict. Texting and emailing do not teach what relating face-to-face in real life is about. And most importantly, children must be given a spiritual foundation. You can get everything else right, but if you fail on this one you have struck out! Give them direction. Lead by example. Letting them find their own way in this area of life is robbing them of the greatest gift of childhood. Learning to know God at a young age and establishing a lifetime of faith is truly the hit that will bring them home.

Questions
What things do you feel you are doing well (encouraging, teaching competence, relational skills, spiritual foundation)? In what area do you need to improve the most? What can you do to improve in that area?

Response
Look at each area and decide what changes you will make in your parenting style as you move forward. Decide what your child needs most right now and focus on providing the opportunity for them to grow in character and faith.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for the gifts you have given me in my children. Help me to instill in them the values and skills needed so that they have the tools to live life to its fullest. Help me to show them your love through my life and lead them to faith in Jesus. May my influence on their life be a blessing to them and to You. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.