Getting ready for school in the morning is often difficult for our family. I’m sure your mornings are filled with peaceful prayer times, quiet cups of coffee, and warm smiles of sunshine. In our house, I feel like a Navy Seal on the battlefield in Afghanistan. “I need you to eat your cereal faster!” “You need to put that lunch box in your backpack asap!” “And you need to finish getting ready.” My son says, “I am ready.” I reply, “You’re kidding me! Your hair’s a mess, and it looks like you found that shirt in the bottom of the clothes hamper. You literally look like you wanted to dress up as a homeless man for Halloween. Is that the look you’re going for?”
The final straw for Micah and I happened one fateful morning. It was a crazy morning yet again. Breakfast was fast, kids were looking for homework, and tensions were high. My wife rushed out the door to take the kids to school. When they arrived and got out of the car, my son Bryson got out of the car and started walking into the school barefoot. Finally, he noticed that he didn’t have any shoes on. Micah, filled with intense emotions of displeasure, said, “Where are your shoes?” He said, “Uhhh, I guess I forgot them.” My son went to school with no shoes! And that’s how we got our nomination for worst parent of the year.
That’s when we knew we needed to make some changes.
Here are three areas that I’ve learned I have to prepare for:
1. PREPARE FOR THE NEXT DAY
We realized we weren’t preparing for the next day very well when my son showed up to school with no shoes. When it comes to parenting, preparation is the name of the game. We decided to prepare for the morning better. Our bedtime routine included pj’s, potty, teeth, and a bedtime prayer. So we added to our bedtime routine and told our kids to pick out their clothes and shoes the night before. We also made sure they packed their lunches and packed their backpacks with all their books and homework. Homework was checked off the list right after dinner because we’ve been fooled by the, “I don’t have any homework,” and then at breakfast, “Oops, I forgot I have homework.” Every night is a battle to get ready for the next day. Prepare well, and you’ll make your morning and day much better.
2. PREPARE FOR THE NEXT SEASON
Seasons change quickly. One day I’m changing a diaper, and the next day I’m buying an iphone for my teenager. If you aren’t careful, time will fly by, and you’ll be parenting a teenager like he or she is an eight year old. Just when I think I’m getting the hang of parenting my kids, they get older and require a different style of parenting. It’s hard to keep up. That’s why you have to prepare for the next season. One of the best ways to do this is to read books. Reading parenting books has been a game changer for me. Here are few must reads:
Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel
The DNA of Parent-Teen Relationships: Discover the Key to Your Teen’s Heart by Gary Smalley
5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman
Parenting by the book by John Rosemond
Raising Great Kids by Henry Cloud
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp.
Another way to prepare for the next season is to identify major mile markers in the life of your children. When your child starts walking, it’s a brand new season. Prepare the house and batten down the hatches. When your child starts school, it’s time to prepare for your new schedule. When your child goes into fifth grade, it’s time to prepare for conversations about sex. If you have a sixth grader and you haven’t talked about sex, stop what you are doing and order Passport to Purity and start preparing for a life changing weekend.
Other seasons to prepare for include the teenage years, when they start driving, dating, and then preparing for college. Start preparing for these seasons in the life of your child by reading, and by talking to older parents who have done it well.
3. PREPARE FINANCIALLY
As kids get older they get more expensive. I have to buy new shoes every other month because my kids keep growing. The older they get the more expensive their taste in clothes becomes. Not to mention cars, car insurance, and of course college.
Preparing financially means you have to be willing to sacrifice some things that you want now, for things you want even more in the future. Having nice things is great if you can afford it, but if you can’t, don’t worry. Your kids won’t remember the things you buy them, but they will remember the experiences you enjoy with them. If you are wise with your money you will be able to bless your children and grandchildren when they really need it. They might really want a brand new car at sixteen, but when they are married with kids they won’t care about that car. At that point they’ll need diapers, baby clothes, and therapy. Be wise with your money so you can help them out financially.
Parenting takes preparation. Don’t get caught up in the rat race and forget to think about your future. You will be happier and your children will be blessed.