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Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.

Parenting with A Purpose

Hello Friends,

Have you ever considered crafting a mission statement for you kids? I know it sounds a little too organizational, but I’ve noticed that most parents not only have a mission statement, they also state it often and quiz to see if their children have attained it. “Not me,” you might say. But I bet you do; take some time this week and listen to what you tell your kids.

I first noticed it when I became a children’s pastor four years ago. About 75% of parents would tell their kids to “have fun” when they dropped them off at class. When they picked them up, they’d say, “Did you have fun?” Not only did the child hear what they were to do when mom and dad were out of sight, so did the teachers. We knew that we could teach them, but at the end of the day, it’d better be fun.

I can’t say that I was a fan of that particular idea. As a teacher in public school, and now at church, I’d spend a huge effort fitting what I taught into a fun format. I’d learned to avoid the “B” word at all costs: “Boring!” As if I didn’t know better, when I dropped my oldest child off at Kindergarten on her first day, I heard myself say, “Have fun.”

Ironically, most of us don’t really want our kids to always have fun. Among other things, parents want their kids to learn to work hard, to show kindness to others, and to learn contentment. We know from personal experience that it’s not always fun to achieve those virtues. But when it comes to parenting, most of us simply don’t take enough time to really consider the consistent message we are speaking to our kids. We know that if our kids were trying to have fun all the time – or even to be happy all the time – it would be like building a house on sand: it’s a ruinous mission in life.

When I heard myself saying, “Have fun” to my kindergartner, I decided that I needed to sit down with my wife and come up with a mission statement that was more purposeful (and certainly more spiritual). I’ll warn you, this exercise is not easy…and it might not be “fun.” I’m not going to tell you what we came up with…honestly it has changed a couple of times as we’ve learned more about what God desires from us as parents. But what I’ve found is that in formulating a mission statement for my kids, I not only state my expectations for them when I’m not there, I also keeping myself focused on what I’m trying to do as a parent. It goes both ways.

We’d love to hear back from you. If you come up with a great mission statement please email it back.

Sincerely,

Jacob Poetzl
Children’s Ministry Pastor
West Salem Foursquare Church

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P.s. Begin 2011 right by joining one of our new small groups starting up in the next few weeks. Stop by the Connecting Point to see all of your options. Or contact Penne Ryan for questions at penne.ryan@wsfc.org.