Your guide to sticking with resolutions that are worth sticking with.
By: The Generations of Virtue Team
“This year, I’ll lose a few pounds”.
“This year, I’ll spend more time with the kids”.
“This year, I’ll have the birds and the bees talk with my son”.
Did you make any resolutions earlier this year?
New Year’s resolutions: also known as goals and high expectations for the coming year. Many of us are familiar with this annual routine, and often our goals are noble and probably in great need of attaining. Yet according to Forbes, only 8% of us actually accomplish the goals we make as we ring in the New Year. If that statistic is discouraging, don’t worry – there are several ways you can make your resolutions a reality, and we’re here to help. We’ve put together 10 goals for parents that will help you, your family, and your children’s futures.
We say if you can’t measure it, it’s not a very good resolution because vague goals beget vague resolutions,” says John Norcross of the University of Scranton.
When it comes to parenting, setting lofty goals and putting unreal expectations on yourself is easier to do than eating a piece of cake. Most well-meaning parents tend to focus on the negative aspects of their parenting, and tend to see only the areas that could use vast improvement. Yet no matter how many mistakes you have made as a parent, it can be guaranteed that you’ve done some things right. Don’t let discouragement at past failures let you down. Before we continue, take a moment and pray along with us:
“Dear Jesus, I know I’ve made parenting mistakes. Yet I also know that you came and died on the cross to save me from my sins – including my parenting sins. Help me to forgive myself for the things I’ve done wrong, and not to live in past regrets. Please help me to make the changes I need to make for my family – as can only be done through You. You are the best parent, Lord, and I need your help this coming year. Amen.”
Simply put, achieving goals and New Year’s resolutions is possible. Yet often our goals are lacking two key ingredients: prayer and wisdom. Making changes can be difficult, and we need the Lord’s help in knowing which changes to make in our lives and in our family for this coming year ahead. After all, we have no idea what this New Year will hold for us. Only God knows, so it’s imperative that we lean into our Savior for wisdom.
With prayer and wisdom in mind, we have a list of parenting resolutions to consider. As with any life change or goal, we encourage you to take this before the Lord and pray about which area to focus on. He is faithful and just to give us wisdom when we ask, so keep asking!
1. At least once a month, I will bring up the topic of sex with my kids (individually if possible). This can be a discussion about a movie they saw, a magazine cover in the grocery store, a billboard or a comment their cousin made at a get-together. While it’s tempting to sweep the sexuality issue under the rug, it’s imperative to your child’s long-term sexual health that you understand where they are mentally with this topic. Dialogue is key!
2. We will listen to a chapter of the Bible everyday. Websites such as Bible Gateway make it easy and free – and there can be no greater habit for you and your children than to have daily intake of God’s Word – the only absolute truth.
3. Twice a week, we’ll all sit down together at the dinner table. Turn off the TV, and go around the table having each person share their best and worst moment of the day.
4. At least once a quarter, I will hire a baby-sitter and go on a date with my spouse! A healthy marriage is absolutely vital for you AND your children! For date nights on a budget, check out these ideas from Focus on the Family.
5. Before going to see any movie in the theater, I will check the pluggedin.com movie review first. They also have a free app that we encourage you to download.
6. Once a month (or once a week!), we will initiate a tech-free day. Make it fun to see how reliant we have become on our devices, especially socially, and how freeing it can be to go ‘off the grid’ for even just one day.
7. Read one book on manners, and involve the whole family. Depending on the ages of your kids, a book such as Everyday Graces has wonderful stories to illustrate the importance of good etiquette. Other options include The Little Book of Manners, The Little Book of Manners for Boys, Good Manners for a Little Princess, and Good Manners for a Little Warrior. Just be sure to break up the manners improvements so you don’t get overwhelmed!
8. Purchase, and most importantly, MONITOR internet filtering software. We have several recommendations for software HERE. Monitor all online activity at minimum once a week.
9-10. Bless your children. This one gets two numbers because it is SO important. How often and when is up to your family, but the prayer of blessing from parent to child is very powerful – something that happened all throughout the Bible and had profound impact on history. It can also have a profound impact on your children and their modern lives. To find out more, we encourage you to read Project Blessing.
We hope our list gave you a few solid ideas of attainable for this year! If you commit to any of these and don’t follow them exactly, don’t beat yourself up. You can always start fresh, even if it’s August and you realize you haven’t done any of these. Stay positive! (Philippians 4:13)