When I was a child, the TV program Mission: Impossible was very popular. Every episode began with the main character receiving his assigned mission from the boss. He'd listen to a recorded message which began with the words "Good morning, Mr. Phelps" and continued to a description of the mission. Just before outlining the assignment, the voice would say these words: "Your mission, should you choose to accept it . . ." Mr. Phelps always had the option to accept or opt out of the mission because of course, each mission seemed impossible.
All parents have a mission; in fact, all parents have the SAME mission, which I describe in the first couple of paragraphs of my website: ". . .to lead children to a life of maturity and purpose." We're all tasked with teaching our children to understand what life is all about and show them how to live it in a way that honors God and is a blessing to the world they're a part of. That's it! Simple, right?
Not to most of us. To me, it often seemed unlikely I'd ever get from here to there.
Where do we even begin?
The first step, honestly, is to be at least a bit overwhelmed--you need to be overwhelmed because that moment when you're standing at the foot of the mountain you have to climb is when it gets real. You know right off that in order to succeed you're going to need a map of some kind as well as certain kinds of tools and equipment. Oh, and if you are wise, you won't embark without consulting with someone who knows the way and has done this before, someone who can tell you which is the most direct route, and which short-cuts to avoid (think Donner Party). After all, even Google Maps sometimes steers you wrong. A healthy dose of humility is a good thing.
Since the mission involves helping your children understand how to honor God, it's a good idea to look in the Scriptures for guidance. Some instructions are provided in Deut. 6:6-7, Eph. 6:4, Prov. 13:24, Prov. 22:15, and there are others as well, which give you clarity on what your goal is. The only problem is that they don't get down into the nitty-gritty of what it looks like to "Train up a child in the way he should go." (Prov 22:6)
That's where the experience and wisdom of our own parents and grandparents can be enormously helpful. They have already experienced parenting; from sleepless nights to tantrums to school decisions and dating, they've pretty much seen it all, and are usually more than willing to share--if we have the good sense to ask.
Then, of course, there are folks like me. Because I went through lots of trial and error, mistakes, failures, and successes--because I struggled through anxiety and fear of messing up my kids--because I know it can be stressful and lonely and confusing, but that the truly good things far outweigh the hard things--and because I believe the work of being a mom or dad is vital to the health and future of our world, my mission is to help parents by sharing what I've learned, through articles, posts, recommendations, private coaching, and classes.
If the mission you've been given as a parent sometimes seems impossible, never fear! Accept it, and join me--let's tackle the mission together.