• INTENTIONAL PARENTING 4

    INTENTIONAL PARENTING 4

    Parenting is something that many find themselves in without adequate conscious preparation. as earlier defined, Intentional Parenting is a lifestyle based on an individual, couple, institution or a group’s conscious attempt to live according to their values or beliefs towards specific parenting goals, outcomes and objectives. In the earlier teachings, we talked about external factors that affect children’s development. We also touched on what international parenting encompasses in terms of grooming, nurturing and harnessing. Our parenting cannot be separated from who we are.

    We defined the common parenting styles generally used to be in a bracket of what we have called instinctive and reactional parenting. We generally parent out of who we are internally. As highlighted earlier, Intentional Parenting has to be as what is taught in the scriptures of Training up children in the way that they should go. This means allowing children to grow to be what they were destined to be by their Maker, that is our Father’s original intent. This is however not the case as most of the times we try to raise children to be what we want them to be. What influences our parenting is therefore not values and beliefs that are congruent to the Kingdom of God, which are best for our children but mostly our inadequacies or egos.

    As parents, we are coming from backgrounds of damaged egos, low self-esteem and poor self-images. This is mainly because of the system of darkness, which fights self-discovery and people realizing their true God given identities. In some of my earlier blogs, I talked of the three basic internal needs of every human being and where we seek to have these needs met. These basic needs are Love, Security and Significance. We are living in a material world and we generally seek to have these needs met from people, possessions, positions and power. Since we have not leant to have these needs met in our Maker, our parenting is affected as sometimes we expect to have our personal inner needs met someway somehow in our children.

    Sometimes our craving for significance will make us push our children in careers and directions that will stroke our egos. Our own definitions of success and significance will mean that we will push our children in directions that will make us feel significant. It is so sad that if we take a close look at the decisions and actions we take in raising children it is mainly for us and not for the children. Most of what we do is for the applause of other people and has nothing to do with the good of the children. This is the case even for other institutions that work with children.

    Let us take an example children looking for secondary school places after the completion of primary school education. Why is it that the educational institutions would want the brightest students first in their enrollment? They have institutional accolades and statuses in mind and not the children. Some of the children who would not be academically gifted but maybe good in sports will find themselves in these schools because their talents will lift the statuses of the institutions. This makes it clear that personal egos of the organizational leaders influence their decisions and actions on our children.

    What is the driving force behind our parenting? Could it be that our parenting is driven by our own unmet inner needs? If we are to learn from our Everlasting Father, we will see that his style of parenting is different, it is Intentional. It is never for His own personal ego but is driven by Agape kind of love, which is willing good for something and following through to give the best as an end in itself… unconditional love. How then do we deal with this in our parenting?

    In my last blog, I closed with the subject of emotional intelligence. Intentional Parents in addition to Spiritual Intelligence that shall be discussed in future blogs need Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence improves our parenting in ways that we have never imagined. Emotional intelligence in the context of parenting or working with children or minors firstly involves a combination of competencies that allows the parent, guardian or leader to be aware of, to understand, and to be in control of their emotions, attitudes and actions. Secondly, it involves the ability to recognize and understand the emotions and behavior of children or minors and to use this knowledge to foster successful parenting and the success of the children or minors. In other words emotional intelligence is what the bible calls soul prosperity when John says,        
       
    Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. [3 John 2]

    We succeed in dealing and relating with others to the measure of our emotional states that are a result of underlying factors of thoughts, values and beliefs. If we are to be successful in parenting, we have to know that the important thing is not about the children we have custody over first but it is about us.

    Emotional Intelligence according to one of the major researchers of the subject Daniel Goleman consists of four main elements of Self Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness and Social Management or Social Skills. The first two, which we shall discuss in this blog, address the personal competences that one is supposed to have and the other two address social competences that we shall deal with in the next blog.

    SELF-AWARENESS
    Firstly being an intentional parent takes Self-awareness. Are we as parents conscious of how what we do, our emotions, attitudes, customs, behavior or language affect our children and the people around us. In addition to this awareness, we need to take personal responsibility of our actions and not blame anyone or anything for what we do. Several times, we blame the government, paycheck, workplace, spouses and other things for our actions. Self-Awareness is at its best when we get to know where we are and where we ought to be according the true measure of the standard of Christ. This awareness will help us allow God through the leading of the Holy Spirit and his word help us develop the fruit of the Spirit; which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

    Self-awareness also means being able to check on our sources of motivations to our actions and assessing our emotional states and states of mind. Our behavior and actions are a product of our values, beliefs, thoughts and feelings. So as parents we should be able to asses our values and how they compare to the kingdom values. Sometimes we are so materialistic in our values to an extend that our focus is on providing the best of housing, food, schools for our children and not on what we are putting in our children.

    Self-Awareness is a gift that human beings have as compared to all other creation. I describe it as the ability to get out of ourselves and look at our lives at a distance. We should look at our thoughts, emotions, actions, and asses how it affects our children. Our leader and savior the Lord Jesus Christ was a self-aware parent as we listen to some of his last words before he signed off. He said,

    And so for their sake and on their behalf I sanctify (dedicate, consecrate) Myself, that they also may be sanctified (dedicated, consecrated, made holy) in the Truth. [John 17:19] NKJV


    SELF-MANAGEMENT

    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Eleanor Roosevelt

    Self-management firstly talks of taking personal responsibility of our emotions. When we know that we are responsible for the way we feel we will be able to make decisions that help us maintain healthy feelings and hence healthy behaviors and actions for our parenting. It is our responsibility to maintain a healthy emotional state free from guilt, fear, worry, insecurity, bitterness, anger, rage and other negative emotions that are not productive in our relationships. I have seen that our happiness is not usually connected to the resources we have but to the quality of relationships that we have with those who are close to us and play an important part of our lives.

    Self-management begins with our relationship with our Maker so that we have a sense of our true identity. This true identity begins with the awakening of our inner beings to the fatherhood of God. Then with the word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit we put on our true identity that helps us see ourselves as God sees us and see everyone we relate to as deserving the best of us. We become conduits of the love of God and all that God has given us access to our children and the minors we have responsibility over. It is our responsibility to maintain healthy and productive emotional states like peace and joy as these are so pivotal in our parenting.

    Children are spiritual beings, so even if we try to pretend and fake it in our relations with them and hide the negatives happening to us they eventually pick it and it affects them and their trust towards us. The goal of our actions and behavior in the presence of our children or minors is creating trust. Trust is the sustained inner ability to give and receive in our relationships. When you take hold of a baby that you are seeing for the first time and throw then in the air they will cry with fear and insecurity but if their mother or father who spends time with them does the same, the baby will laugh and giggle. The difference is the trust that the child would have. Self-management is important in parenting so that we are always at our best with our children or minors in our custody to be always creating trust. Many parents struggle dealing with their teens and would sell everything to be the major influence of their teens decision. Why is this so? They are not aware of what they did and/ or did not do or areas they failed in self-management that destroyed trust from their children.  Our children are then influenced by whom or what they have chosen to trust be it peers, the media or the opposite sex.

    Our capacity to self-manage is revealed in the word of God in the words of the Apostle Paul, who said,

    Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.  Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. [Phil 4:6-7].  

    Our inner states are a product of the inner conversations that happen inside us. Have you ever wondered why sometimes there is a sudden change in the inner states of our hearts? One moment there is joy and peace inside us and the next moment there is heaviness or depression. These states reveal to us whether conversations that have been happening in us have been productive or not. Anger builds in us according to what we says to ourselves inside us when something happens. This is what is reflected in the above quoted words of Eleanor Roosevelt who said,

     “No one can make you feel inferior without your own consent”.

    When someone does something to you, what words do you speak to yourself? It is these words that determine the kind of inner feeling we will have and it is these that we have to manage in our parenting and all other relationships. This is why the Apostle Paul continues from the above quoted verse prescribing one way of managing our inner conversations saying,

    “Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious — the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” [Phil 4:8-9]. 

    In conclusion, I would say Parenting starts with the parent and how prepared and capacitated they are to relate with the children. We have responsibilities to develop emotional intelligence so that we will not burden our children with our personal ego battles, inadequacies, failures, poor self-image and esteem, insecurities and shortcomings. Several times, we ignorantly demand from our children too much because of our inadequacies. We are responsible for whether our children will grow with good or bad self-esteem that affects a lot in terms of their success in life, careers, marketplace or relationships. Look up for my next blog as we continue to learn on the second half of emotional intelligence which addresses awareness of our children and their emotions and behavior and how you can manage these relationships.

    Better is a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city. Self-control better than political power. [Prov 16:32]

    Coach Tarie Coaching and Consultancy (COTACC) is there to help you on developing some of these soft social skills that you don’t find in schools or homes. Get in touch with Coach Tarie for sessions on Emotional intelligence or any other issue that you might need help as an individual or for your church or organization.

    Coach Tarie-Pastor|Life -Entrepreneurship- Family Coach|Consultant| Leadership Trainer| |Speaker|Blogger|Author|Development Practitioner|www.coachtarie.com|coachtarie@ gmail.com|facebook/twitter/ linkedin @ Coach Tarie| +263773 301 267/ +263 712 106 415







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