When our health is fading away and death appears closer to our door step---there are going to be two things we'll care about: Faith and Relationships. Where do I stand with God and how are my relationships with family and maybe a few close friends?
Being a great parent is one thing we will reflect on most as we prepare to leave this world. I have read articles that interviewed people in the season. I also got to experience that in 2016, when my step father knew death was around the corner, he and I talked. From his hospital bed he said on those lonely nights when it's just him there he reflects on parenting, his relationships: do they know how much I love them? Did I tell them often enough? Have I apologized for the things I said and wrongful actions I did?
"Parenting With A Purpose" is an opportunity to have some questions to share with our age appropriate children in order to help us parent with a purpose. If you don't feel your children are mature enough yet, save them for when the time comes. I like to save things in either a note app, or I will create an email to myself and save it there. In my email I put keywords like: parents, children and questions, so when I do a search in my email--wala! Also, be creative--come up with your own digging questions or change the words around to mine. There's no wrong way to do it, besides not doing it. Communication between parents and their children is important in building & maintaining a loving and productive relationship. Children are like all people--they need to feel they have influence. Parenting with a purpose will promote that feeling, along with allowing our children to be heard and know their feelings are being considered. For parents, feedback is important. I know that I can say and do things, oblivious to how they are impacting Luke for the good and also how they hurt or frustrate him.
For my 17 year old son, this will be difficult for him. Therefore, I give him plenty of time (1-2 weeks) and I need to gently explain that we both know I can always improve in the area of parenting and these questions are to help me be a better parent. While these questions may be difficult, answering them helps me and benefits you. And who doesn't want a better parent and who doesn't want to be a better parent?
Parenting With A Purpose Questions:
1. What could I do to make you feel more loved?
2. If you were writing a mission statement for our family---what would you want the mission statement to be? Meaning, the 3 of us were tragically hit by an asteroid--how do you want us to be remembered by those left behind?
3. How can I better meet your needs? (emotional needs, spiritual needs, physiological needs, safety needs, love/belonging needs, esteem needs.)
5. When you and I spend quality time together, how would you like to spend that time together? (Examples: bowling, Xbox, fishing, biking, playing musical instruments or reading a book together.)
6. What trait/characteristic would you like for me to develop or get better at?
7. What characteristic would you like me to help you develop?
8. What are some things you'd like to see us as a family complete in the next 6-12 months?
9. My Mom/Dad would be more Christlike if _______.
10. Describe a perfect day for you? Share one or more scenarios--just you, you and me or all three of us, you and friends, etc.
11. If you could change one thing about our family, what would it be?
12. What is one thing you value most in our family?
13. Looking ahead to the day you leave home, what are some things you want to be sure we have shared with you before that happens? Or what are some things we can teach you, show you, expose you to? Examples: going through Dave Ramsey's financial class, changing a tire, mission trip.
15. What do you like us doing together? (Either me and you or as a family.)
16. What would you like to do together in future, including me and Mom?
17. What overwhelms you?
18. If you could ask your parents to pray one thing for you, every single day, what would it be?
19. What are some of your greatest hopes?
20. What do you want to be remembered for?
21. Anything else you'd like to add that hasn't been covered?
Thanks for reading!
Chris & Jenn live in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. They were high school sweethearts, marrying in 2001. They are parents to one son, Luke (born November 1999) and two loving pups: Miley & Elsie.