As a father, I’ve enjoyed every stage of parenting. From toddlerhood to adulthood, parenting offers wonderful surprises and opportunities to learn new things about your children.
Of course, there are always challenges along the way. At its heart, parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. When you start a family, you have to be in it for the long haul.
Which is why so many parents are emotionally exhausted. They believe the secret to a successful family is trying harder and doing more. But striving to “be better” and to “accomplish more” will only get parents so far.
There may be seasons when parents face a project deadline at work, an extra busy schedule of activities at home, or involvement at church or within the community. Seasons of busyness can be managed; a lifestyle of busyness will eventually become toxic. It puts families on a carousel going round and round, faster and faster, and you can’t get off
C.S. Lewis said, “I don’t believe good work is ever done in a hurry.”
Moments of rest are as crucial to a healthy family life as productivity. And by “rest” I mean more than just a blank spot on our calendar. We need room to breathe, to clear our minds, and to decompress. Not just once a year on vacation, but monthly, weekly, even daily.
That’s not easy to do. No one will hand us margin. We have to take it. Which means telling people no with wisdom and grace. We want to handle opportunities and other people well, but it’s healthy to have boundaries that say, “Enough is enough.”
With good margins, you can say no to things that don’t matter and yes to things that do. You’ll never be a perfect parent, but there are countless ways to be a great parent. Parenting deserves our best effort, but it doesn’t require you to be a superhero.
On our Focus on the Family Broadcast “The Joys and Challenges of Parenthood,” we want to zero in on the early years of parenting and offer a few “best practices” for raising children. Think of it as a Parenting 101 course.
Here with us to share her expertise is Katharine Hill. She’s the UK director for Care for the Family, a sister ministry to Focus on the Family. She reminds parents of younger children to be more intentional, to enjoy their parenthood journey, and to keep their family and faith a top priority in the midst of a busy life.
Katharine’s book If You Forget Everything Else, Remember This: Parenting in the Primary Years is available for a gift of any amount. For more information, click here. Or call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).