by Ron Edmondson
Frankly, I wish it happened more often, but occasionally a young father will come to me wanting to know how to be a better husband or father. One thing they specifically ask is how to take advantage of the time they have with their family—how to be more effective with that time.
Here are 5 suggestions to make your family time more effective:
Begin with a plan for your home and each child.
You seldom hit a target you aren’t aiming to hit. Just as adults may have a plan for their career or finances, parents need a plan for operating their home. It should be written and summarize the major goals you hope to accomplish in your home. Because each child is different, I also believe parents should have different plans for each child. Ask yourself:
- What do we want our children to look like some day?
- How can we get them there?
You’ll find your family time more effective when you have a plan, because, consciously and unconsciously, it helps focus your attention and energies on the things that matter most.
Major on the majors, not on the minors.
Children don’t need to be burdened with a lot of rules. Some things matter and some things don’t. Figure out the non-negotiables and primarily concentrate on them. I tend to lean toward character issues as majors and individual preferences as minors.
Make the guidelines in your home easy to figure out.
Talk about the rules you have for your home and be sure to tell the children the “why” behind those rules, as much as they can understand. Be consistent in carrying out the rules in the home. Children shouldn’t have to guess how you’ll respond to an issue. As children learn your heart and ways, they can better trust you, which will help them enjoy themselves around you.
I’ve never seen effective parenting accomplished much in front of the television. (Ouch!) If you want more effective family time, take advantage of the time you do have and be intentional, implementing the plan you have for your family. Children won’t always be available to you. As much as you can, to be an effective parent, always strive to be available to them. Looking for teaching moments as they are presented and keep your desired outcomes in mind as you parent.
Surround everything with grace and love.
Give multiple chances and forgive easily. I try to remember that I’m modeling Christ for my children. Much of their understanding of Christ comes from their relationship to their earthly father (and mother). I’ve been given so much grace; shouldn’t my children reap the benefit?
Obviously, these are just suggestions. Implementing them in your home will be different from how it was in my home, because you’re different and your children are different. Thinking through your parenting in a more systematic, intentional way will make you a better parent and help your time as a family be more effective.
Ron is lead pastor at Grace Community Church and a church leader who is passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. In addition to his role as a pastor, he consults with church and ministry leaders. Find out more about Ron at: https://www.RonEdmondson.com.