One common principle among highly successful people is that they always have an endgame.
‘Start as you intend to proceed’.
‘Start with the end in mind.’
These are all powerful phrases that encapsulate the concept of strategic planning, which means you A) humbly and pragmatically identify where you are now, B) set a very clear goal of where you aim to end up, and then C) work backward to create a plan that will systematically take you from Point A to Point B.
Much like mapping out a road trip, you will be much more likely to arrive at your desired destination if you actually have detailed coordinates than if you point your car on the highway and say, “Take me North”. So too in life, business, personal relationships, and even spiritual affairs, the odds of achieving our goals are much greater if we invest the time and clearly set goals for what we want to create, accomplish, or even become as human beings.
The same holds true for our children. While they are most certainly powerful souls in their own right, and it’s mainly our job to guide and support them as they find their wings, there is no question that purposeful parenting can create entirely different outcomes than accidental, or even apathetic parenting.
There is no question that parenting today is hard.
With school shootings, government propaganda, mainstream media brainwashing, social media madness, pandemic fallout to navigate, and the peer pressure of needing a perfect family on your profile page, the amount of nonsense we have to swim through on a daily basis is paralyzing.
So, how do we do it?
How do we block out the nonsense and silence the noise to become clear on who we want to be and how we want to best support our children as they blossom, grow, and learn to navigate the world as we now know it?
What if the answer is more simple than we might think? Hallelujah. Have you ever stopped and created a clear picture of the “end product” you want to produce in raising your children? What if you made a list of all of the character traits, values, and life lessons you want to make sure you instill in your children in the few precious years they live under your roof? Then, have a brainstorming session with yourself. What skills, tools, and mindset will my children need to thrive in the modern world? And then, one step further: What experiences and memories do I want to create with and for my children before they go out into the world on their own? Lastly, you divide all of those important details into how many years left they have at home with you.
Right there you have just created your own purposeful, intentional, and quite masterful strategic plan of how you want to raise your children. Void of the noise. Rising above the debilitating drama that screams from the evening news. That strategic plan then becomes the filter by which you make every parenting decision. Does this option take me closer to my parenting goal or further away from it? If closer, you move ahead. If not, you pass on that one.
Purposeful parenting is certainly not easy to do, and it’s not something anyone else can do for us.
It requires that we decide who we want to be as humans and leaders in this world. Remember, leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. Therefore, regardless of whether we “feel” like leaders, this is exactly what we are as parents. Leading and guiding our children to become the beacons of light for our next generation.
Our job is not to raise mini me’s and prep them to step into the limelight where we missed out.
Our job is to groom them to shine their own special light in the best way possible. Giving them courage to spread their wings and fly, knowing that they’ll always have a safe space to come home to as they carve their own path on the journey of life.
It can be easy to get lost in self-doubt, self-sabotage, and (let’s be honest) just keeping up with the task lists of life. But, as we’re taught by our sages, the very fact that our kids have chosen us as their parents means that Hashem clearly has given us exactly what is needed to rise to the occasion and give our unique little neshamos the divinely ordained life, love, and leadership they need to fulfill their purpose in this world. You got this, Mom and Dad. All the Heavens believe in YOU!