Parenting is, in essence, the ultimate leadership challenge.
And unlike when you are leading an employee or a teammate, there’s no escape. You can’t fire your child or bench them indefinitely. You have to find a way to conquer every leadership challenge your child may present--from disobedience to laziness.
Last week, we wrote about how making investments in your child helps you to gain influence over them. Daily, meaningful interactions yield trust, love, and memories. And the love and trust you create allows you to lead your children.
Consistency when parenting means everything, and just like you need to consistently give your child daily investments, you need to consistently make daily investments into yourself!
In fact, parenting is a process, much like running a race, or cooking a big Thanksgiving meal. It requires research, adjustments, and time! And just like we wouldn’t rush into running a marathon without first training and we wouldn’t start cooking without knowing we had all the ingredients, our preparation is just as important as our execution.
All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. 1 Corinthians 9:25-27
I love the part of this verse that talks about training your body to do what it should. Disciplining ourselves never fails to yield a profit. While this verse seems to be talking about exercise, the same principle is true in our spiritual and emotional lives, and in our parenting and leadership skills!
We don’t always want to put in the time necessary to listen to a podcast or get up early to read a book. But, Paul encourages us to make the most of every day and every opportunity to improve. When we discipline our bodies and our minds by prioritizing investing in our understanding of our kids, the Word of God, and how to train our kids, we are running with purpose!
Sometimes, we jump ahead of ourselves and think that running with purpose simply means investing in our kids. And while this is true to an extent, we cannot forget to invest in ourselves. If we continue to give out, give out, give out without ever expanding our own knowledge, we will ultimately run ourselves dry.
Kids require constant adjustments. If you have a young child especially, you know it’s true. What causes tantrums one day can be fine the next, and vice versa. So, when we discipline ourselves, we expand our arsenal of tools to handle any situation.
Of course the Holy Spirit always leads us and guides us, but it is up to us to expand our knowledge and put the effort in! And as we prioritizing investing into our personal growth, we will become better parents, better spouses, and better followers of Christ. We simply have to make the time.
This week, make a plan to invest in yourself! Whether that means getting up a half-hour earlier to read a book or downloading some podcasts to listen to while you go to the grocery store, find a way to make sure you have the opportunity to grow!
And with ebooks and audio-books, it’s easy to find a resource that can speak into your personal situation and fit your personal schedule! Below are a few of my favorite parenting resources to help get you started. So make a plan, and stick to it! As you go, pray that God would honor the time you are setting aside and turn your process into progress!