Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Guest Blogger...Cara Putman

Parenting Plan: Do you have one?

Last week my parents were in town to visit their grandchildren. They like me, but I won’t deceive myself that I was the primary inducement for their visit. And you know, that’s okay.

But while they were in town, I decided to officially pick their brains. What could they say they had done that resulted in four kids (and their spouses) who serve the Lord? This time, they actually had some ideas for me. The fun thing was seeing that they identified some of the things that I highlighted last week, as well as a few I hadn’t.

First, and the one I want to talk about today, they had a parenting plan. A parenting plan? I had to ask what they meant. They had a set of parenting principles, or a parenting plan, that everything was held against.

Did one of us want to participate on a sports team? Great, but before they would give the final okay they held the commitment up against their parenting principles. Those principles then helped them make decisions on a day in and day out basis. For example, one of my brothers lived sports. He was invited to participate on a traveling soccer team and did for one summer. After that, though, my parents said he could play city soccer as much as he wanted, but no more traveling teams.

Why? I think most of us would believe an experience like that would be good for our kids. We might even hope for a college scholarship if the child is good enough to make a traveling team.

My parents decided the traveling team was too disruptive to the family’s schedule. Josh was the only member of the family on the team, and it required a lot of weekend travel. That travel meant he missed church frequently during the season. His weekends away also overlapped with Dad’s National Guard weekends, which meant Mom had to travel with Josh and my youngest brother got caught somewhere in between.

Bottom line, they let Josh try it and supported him that summer, but because experience said it didn’t fit their parenting principles, it was a one-time experience.

Next week, I’ll share some of their parenting principles with you. Until then, did your family have any – conscious or unconscious – parenting principles?

Cara Putnam


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