01. START THE COUNTDOWN
Whichever phase your kid is in right now will go by faster than you think. To illustrate this in a compelling way, we like to use a jar of marbles filled with 936 marbles—the estimated number of weeks between birth and high school graduation. When you remove a marble for each week of a kid’s life, it enforces a simple principle: When you see how much time you have left, you tend to get serious about the time you have now.
02. REDISCOVER YOUR KID
A phase is a timeframe in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future. And like we said last week, it can feel like each phase moves by more quickly than the last. Our kids are constantly changing—mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally. Likewise, our approach to parenting must change, too. In order to adjust appropriately, we need to understand each phase and its often, imperceptible variations. Pay attention to your kid. Ask each day, “What can I do to rediscover them now?”
03. MAKE HISTORY ONE WEEK AT A TIME
There are a few things your kid needs from you over time to build the right kind of history. Don’t panic—you’re probably already doing most of these things. We just want to identify them to help you become even more intentional with what you do with your kids every week.
04. TALK ABOUT WHAT MATTERS
When it comes to parenting, you don’t anticipate what you don’t anticipate. Without a clear destination . . .
- you tend to only focus on right now.
- you tend to do whatever makes your kids happy.
- you tend to fear what you can’t control.
But if you parent with the end in mind, and you know where you are now, you can always do something that will lead a kid in a better direction.
05. CONNECT TO A BIGGER STORY
If you were to ask parents which priorities matter most when it comes to their kids, their responses would fall into three major categories:
- Smarter decisions
- Stronger relationships
- Deeper faith
When Jesus was asked what was most important, he narrowed it down to one thing that gets to the heart of all three categories:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27 NIV).
To help our kids learn to love God, imagine that as a parent, you have three dials you are constantly turning at every phase:
- Dial #1 is WONDER. It affects a kid’s thinking and imagination about God’s love.
- Dial #2 is DISCOVERY. It affects a kid’s emotional and moral response to God’s love.
- Dial #3 is PASSION and it affects a kid’s relationships reflect God’s love.
06. CREATE A RHYTHM IN YOUR HOME
For the past five weeks, we’ve been discovering some new ways to become more intentional in our parenting through the phases. Our hope is that you’re walking away from this study inspired, encouraged, and equipped to be a better, more focused parent.
But you probably have one, lingering question: Where am I going to find the time to do any of this?
We actually think there’s a secret to parenting your kids through every phase. Think for a minute about the things you’ve been talking about over the past five weeks. You’ve probably identified some things you want to impress upon your children. You know the kinds of things you want to prioritize in your home.
By looking at the ancient writings of Moses as he taught the Israelites how to transfer values to their children, we get an idea of how to transfer what we’ve learned into what we do: You have to create a rhythm in your family where what matters most becomes part of your everyday activities.
We know parents are already incredibly busy, so we aren’t asking parents to create more time, but to be more intentional with the time they already have with their kids.