There were many times in raising our children that I felt I wasn’t doing the best job. Mistakes happen, children make wrong decisions, I didn’t respond in a way I knew I should have, etc.
Even with homeschooling my children, there were many times I felt I was not doing a good enough job.
Such is the life of a mom—too often feeling we are not totally equipped to be the perfect example of motherhood.
Many years ago, I heard a speaker say that planes are off course 90% of the time. What a frightening thought! How do we ever get to our destination if that is the case? What does the pilot do when he’s off course?
He makes a very simple course correction so that he can get the plane back on track. He will eventually reach the destination if he continues making those slight adjustments.
The same is true in parenting. Often we are off course, off schedule, off track. But that doesn’t mean we won’t reach our desired goal with our kids. It just signifies that it’s time for a course correction. A slight change that will bring us back on the path to our destination.
Here’s some ways that helped us to stay on target with our parenting:
- Set specific family goals. You know the adage: failure to plan is planning to fail. Decide on your definition of a great family—what would such a family look like and what steps will it take to get there. Then get after it.
Take time regularly to reflect. If we don’t look back on what we’ve done and judge whether or not it’s getting us closer to our destination, we may never get there. Regular times of reflection are essential to staying on target.
Listen to those you trust. Sometimes we are blinded to our own shortcomings, and parenting is no different. Find some people whose input you value, who know you and can speak into your life. Listen to their advice concerning a problem area they may see in your family and seriously consider what they say.
Admit it when you are off target. Be honest with yourself when you’re looking at how you are parenting. We all get off course sometimes. When you see an area you’re not succeeding in, admit it. Sometimes that means admitting it to your children as well. They will understand, they will not lose respect for you. Most likely it will give them an appreciation of you because of your transparency. Remember, kids are very resilient!
Make changes as necessary. Apologize, change the rule or standard, set up a new plan, and get back on track. Whatever it takes, make the course correction and begin again. Don’t lay a guilt trip on yourself for not doing it right the first time. Tomorrow is another day and you can start fresh.
This mindset has given me so much hope over the years. Knowing that being off track right now doesn’t mean you’ll be off the path forever. Realizing that you have a choice in where you and your family are going, and if you momentarily get off course, you are able to correct it and keep moving forward.
Question: What helps you to recognize when course corrections are needed to help you stay on target in your parenting? Share your answer in the comments below.