Tag Archive for accountability

Are You a Straight “A” Family?

Do you want to have a family filled with celebration and joyful intimacy? Start by becoming a straight “A” family. I’m not talking about grades. I’m talking about attitude. A truly happy

high school graduates tossing up hats over blue sky.

and healthy family exhibits four “A’s” in their attitude: Acceptance, Admiration, Appreciation, and Accountability. Don’t jump to any conclusions about your standing in these four “A’s.”  Instead, take a moment to review the brief questions below to think about each of “A” and your family standing in relation to each one. You might find your family strong in each area. You might also find various areas where you would like to grow (I know I did).


  • Do you accept each other’s different taste in music, food, clothing, TV shows, etc.?
  • Do you take the time to learn about your spouse’s/children’s/parents’ interests, even if they are different than your own?
  • Do you allow your five-year-old to leave home after dressing themselves in non-matching clothes or do you have to re-dress them? How about allowing your teen to get the haircut or hair color they desire?
  • How do you let your spouse/children know you love them when you are angry or disappointed with their behavior or decision?
  • Do you avoid comparisons?


  • Name three things you admire about each of your parents.
  • Name three things you admire about your spouse.
  • Name three things you admire about each of your siblings.
  • What attribute have you most recently admired in your spouse/children/parent?
  • When did you last tell your spouse/children one thing you admire about them—today, yesterday, last week, last month? If it was last week or longer, better do it again.


  • How often do you say “thank you” when you ask your spouse or children to do something?
  • How do you mark the milestones and achievements of your spouse and children?
  • How do you acknowledge the strengths of your spouse/children?
  • Write down three different ways you can communicate appreciation to each family member?


  • How did you teach your children to do their currently assigned chores?
  • Do you practice the behaviors and values you want your family to emulate in areas of anger management, accepting responsibility for mistakes, apologizing, forgiving, politeness, etc.?
  • Name two consequences you have used in the last month with your children. How did these consequences specifically teach the values you want to pass on to your family?

I see some areas of personal need as I write these questions. Although I’m not too upset (after all, family is a place of constant growth), I better get to work in order to improve. That will set a good example of accountability for my family as well. I also see areas in which I believe I do fairly well. How about you?

Do You Use Accountability as a Club or a Staff?

Accountability helps children develop into mature adults. It teaches them wisdom and gives them insight into the consequences of various behaviors. Accountability enables children to know right from wrong, to courageously stand for right, and to live out values of virtue and integrity. With that goal in mind, parents hold children accountable. But, do you wield accountability as if it were a club or a staff?
When a parent uses accountability as a club, they use it to beat the wrong behavior out of their child. A parent who uses accountability as a club will constantly pound their children with a verbal barrage of unmet expectations and disappointments. Yelling, name-calling, and lecturing will leave the emotional bruises of an accountability club. The accountability club is also seen in the wallop of public humiliation and the thrashing of excessive punishment received from a parent lashing out in anger. The parent who uses accountability as a club focuses on the wrong, the negative. They hold the club of accountability high, waiting to “catch ’em being bad” so they can immediately pounce on the negative behavior of their children. Parents who use accountability as a club believe that rules alone produce good character; and, so, the club of accountability becomes the only tool of choice.
Accountability can also be used as a staff. When parents use accountability as a staff, they use it to guide their children toward positive behavior, to encourage their movement toward the desired character of virtue and integrity. Although a staff can provide a “stronger than gentle” nudge in the right direction, it does so in an effort to instruct and train the child in the dangers of negative behavior. Parents who use accountability as a staff recognize progress and express pride in their children’s gifts and strengths. They strive to “catch ’em being good” and then continue to lead their children in that positive direction. Accountability as a staff also becomes a tool parents can use to lift their children up with encouragement or to lovingly lift them out of pits in which they may have fallen.
The only problem with using accountability as a staff is that it eventually leads to children’s independence. The loving instruction, training, support, and guidance of accountability as a staff will produce mature children who make wise decisions…children who will no longer need us for every decision…children who grow independent enough to live their own lives. When we use accountability like a staff, we work our way out of a job…and, who wants to do that?

4 Gifts Children Hate to Love

My birthday is this month. That means another year older (wiser?) and an opportunity to enjoy a couple of birthday traditions. One, we eat lasagna and cheesecake for my birthday. I love lasagna and cheesecake. Although my doctor may not agree, I think it is a great tradition. Two, I give gifts to my family. Nothing big—just something to let them know I love them and keep them in mind. Interestingly, they seem to forget this tradition every year. They always look surprised when I give them a gift. I like that. In a sense, I give myself the gift of watching my children’s face light up when I give them a “birthday surprise.” Although I enjoy giving gifts on my birthday, I think we give gifts to our children gifts all year.  Not necessarily tangible gifts, but important gifts all the same. For instance, here are four gifts I believe our children benefit from all year round. These gifts change their lives for the better, help them mature, and improve their relationships.
First, give your children the gift of responsibility. Your children may balk at this gift, but it is a gift. By giving your children chores and responsibilities, they learn that their actions have meaning. They have the privilege of making a meaningful contribution to the home and family. Making a meaningful contribution enhances their sense of personal value. Yes, the gift of responsibility will keep on giving, contributing to a life-long positive self-concept and strong work ethic.
Second, give your children the gift of accountability. Although this gift is a tremendous gift, it does come with a cost to you and your child. That cost involves discomfort. To hold children accountable for their actions, we must allow them to experience the discomfort of negative consequences for inappropriate behavior. Watching children squirm in the consequences of their negative behavior usually means feeling discomfort as a parent. Most parents really do hate to see their children suffer. But, truly giving the gift of accountability will mean allowing your children to suffer discomfort at times. The true gift of accountability results in learning the difference between right and wrong, wisdom and foolishness. Accountability teaches our children to make wise choices, engage in mature behavior, and use wholesome, uplifting speech.
Third, give your children the gift of opportunity. I don’t mean just any opportunity. I am talking about the opportunity to sacrifice for others and to serve others. We often get wrapped up in giving our children every opportunity to learn, participate in community activities, and experience stimulating environments. These are good opportunities, but our children need more. They need significant opportunities, like the opportunity to serve and to sacrifice. Sacrificing for others can be as simple as giving up the last cookie or as significant as giving up time to help at a food kitchen. Service can be as simple as clearing the table after supper or as significant as a mission trip to a foreign country. Either way, the opportunity to sacrifice and serve begins at home. Build a home environment that supports and encourages sacrifice and service in your family and let it extend from your family to the community at large. After all, the opportunity to sacrifice and serve builds character, humility, and compassion. What a wonderful gift to impart to our children!
Fourth, give your children the gift of anonymity. I know, this sounds strange. We need to acknowledge our children. We need to make sure they feel recognized and accepted for who they are…value and cherish by their parents. However, they do not require praise for every little thing they do. In fact, too much praise can actually make children doubt the sincerity of the praise and, as a result, doubt their own ability. Sometimes, the gift of anonymity is just the thing they need to learn the value of their effort. The gift of anonymity teaches children to complete chores, engage in kind deeds, and work their hardest for the internal satisfaction of knowing they did well. So, praise children for their effort, encourage their work and progress. But, don’t overdo it. Allow them to succeed under the cover of some anonymity as well. Balance your praise with the gift of anonymity.
Quite the gifts, right? Parents can give these gifts to their children all year round. Our children may hesitate in unwrapping them, but they will eventually rejoice in the benefit these gifts offer—the benefit of becoming mature adults who know how to make responsible, wise choices and find joy in serving others.

Do You Parent With a Club or a Staff?

Some parents raise their children with a club, others with a staff. A club is used for beating things. Some parents seem to only have a symbolic club for parenting. And, when the only tool you have is a hammer…well you know what I mean. A staff, on the other hand, is used to guide and direct, to pull a child from danger and to set them on the safe bedrock of family support. Whether you parent with a club or a staff makes a huge difference in the long term effectiveness of your parenting. Club-wielding parents often raise rebellious children. Staff-carrying parents often raise independent and mature children. To help you decide whether you parent with a club or a staff, check out these four tell-tale signs.  
     1.      Those who parent with a club focus on externals. They want to make sure their family “looks good” from the outside. A club-wielding parent worries what others might think about their family. They believe that any behavior, appearance, or language used by any member of the family is reflection on their parenting…perhaps even a reflection on their worth as a person. Everyone has to look good, behave a certain way, and speak well or the parent feels like a bad person.
     Those who parent with a staff focus on internals. Staff-carrying parents are more interested in character development and maturity than external appearance. They realize that how a family member acts and speaks is not a reflection on their parenting, but an opportunity to teach, discipline, encourage, or praise their child and move them toward a more mature lifestyle. The staff-carrying parent knows that how their children behave is ultimately their children’s choice and responsibility. Their children will have to deal with the consequences of their behavior, good or bad.
2.      As a result of focusing on externals, club-wielding parents judge their family members by performance. Family members are good if they meet “my” standard of behavior and appearance and bad if they fall short. This type of conditional acceptance often includes negative labeling as well. When family members don’t show interest in the family activity, they are “disrespectful.” When a child does not feel like doing a chore, they are “lazy.” If a father has to demand his children participate in the Bible study he has prepared for them, they are “undisciplined.” You get the idea.Staff-carrying parents practice unconditional acceptance. They love their children when they behave well and when they misbehave. They love their children enough to discipline the misbehavior, but they do not add negative labels to the children who misbehave. Instead, they offer unconditional acceptance for their children while allowing their children to suffer the consequence of the negative behavior.

      3.      Parents who only have a club to use when parenting expect their children to be just like them. The standards and expectations for children in the club-wielding family are based on the parent’s interests and personal style. If I like to read, my children must read. If I like sports, my children must be athletic. If they are not, we go back to number 2 and give them another label, like “lazy,” “uncooperative,” “ungrateful,” “disrespectful,” or “stupid” to name a few. There is no room for uniqueness. In fact, being different is consider an intentional insult against the family.      Those who parent with a staff become students of their children. They learn about their children’s unique personality, interests, strengths, and vulnerabilities. Staff-carrying parents enjoy their children’s unique qualities and actively seek out ways to allow their children to grow in their special areas of interest. They encourage their children to use their unique strengths, talents, and interests to contribute to the benefit of the family and community.

      4.      Club-wielding parents verbally beat their demands into their children with harsh language. They yell. Their tone of voice is sarcastic and angry. Their cadence is broken and staccato. Club-wielding parents not only use harsh language, they also bludgeon their children with nagging. In fact, you may hear many a parent with a club point out that their children don’t seem capable of doing anything unless “I nag them until it is done!”       Staff-carrying parents state the family expectations and values in clear, concise terms. They use a calm tone of voice and normal volume when discussing the family expectations and values as well as the consequences of not behaving in accordance with those expectations and values. They do not nag. They simply state the expectation and then utilize natural consequences to teach and discipline. Staff-carrying parents are able to do this because they have faith in their children. They believe their children can learn from their mistakes and mature in response to consequences.

So, are you a club-wielding parent or a staff-carrying parent? The choice is yours.

Six A’s of Parenting

Josh McDowell, in The Disconnected Generation, gives six ways to treat children that are crucial to effective parenting. These six points are not daily actions, but attitudes. They represent how we can effectively relate to our children; and, these points of relating become absolutely essential to raising emotionally and spiritually healthy children. I want to share these six attitudes with you because I believe they truly can make each of us a better parent.

     ·         Affirmation. Children need affirmation. They need parents who will rejoice with them when they rejoice and mourn with them when they mourn. Doing so validates their feelings and communicates that we value them. As parents we will find that listening to and understanding our children’s feelings allows us to connect with them. After we connect in this way, we are in a better position to address their concerns, teach values, and encourage appropriate decision making.

·         Acceptance. Children need to know that we accept them…unconditionally, just as they are. We accept our children based on who they are, not based on performance. Children feel secure when they know we accept them for who they are, not whether they perform well, succeed, or become like us. Ultimately, acceptance gives children a secure base from which they can explore the world.

·         Appreciation. Children blossom when they know their parents appreciate them. Parents can express appreciation for their children in private or in public, in written word or in spoken word, with physical gestures or a simple wink. When we appreciate our children, they gain a sense of significance and come to know that their efforts make a difference. Take note that acceptance needs to precede appreciation. In fact, appreciation without complete and unconditional acceptance is manipulation. So, practice accepting your children as they are…appreciate them for the “natural bent” of who they are. Also, make sure to appreciate their effort more than their accomplishments.

·         Affection. Children crave affection. Loving words and appropriate touch communicates affection to our children. It informs them that they are worth loving; that they are lovable. If parents do not provide loving words and affectionate touch, children will seek it elsewhere, often “looking for love in all the wrong places.” Demonstrate affection in your marriage as well as toward your children. The affection that children see modeled in your marriage gives them a sense of security in the family. It also sets an example of godly, loving affection they can emulate in their lives.

·         Availability. Children need parents who remain available to them—emotionally, mentally, and physically. When parents value their children enough to remain available to them, children gain a sense of importance. Remaining available to our children takes time. In fact, Josh McDowell notes that children spell love “T-I-M-E.” Show your children how much you love them by remaining available to talk with them, play with them, give them a hug, listen to them, or just “hang out” with them on a regular basis.   

·         Accountability. Parents also hold children accountable. By holding children accountable, we give them a sense of responsibility. We hold our children accountable for their actions and their words. We hold them accountable to completing tasks that support the family (chores). We hold them accountable to expectations and living by the values we cherish. At the same time, we balance rules with relationships. Rules and accountability without relationships leads to rebellion. Relationships without rules, on the other hand, lead to irresponsibility. Healthy accountability provides both rules and relationship.

As you practice these six A’s of parenting, you will find your children grow in maturity. They will become responsible young people who value other people’s opinions and rights as much as their own. You will have the joy of seeing them practice loving boundaries with themselves and others.

Parenting Preschoolers, Marshmallows, & Success

What does parenting preschoolers, eating marshmallows, and success have in common? Apparently a lot. Daniel Goleman describes a fascinating study involving preschoolers and marshmallows. A researcher engaged a 4-to-6-year-old in play. After a short time, he told the child he had an errand to run. He plopped a marshmallow on the table and said, “If the marshmallow is there when I return, you can have two marshmallows.” The researcher then left the preschooler alone with the marshmallow for 15-20 minutes. Some preschoolers covered their eyes. Others turned around and “ignored” the marshmallow. Some even petted the marshmallow as though it were a stuffed animal or licked the table around the marshmallow. Of course, some ate the marshmallow. Those who did not eat the marshmallow until the researcher returned enjoyed two marshmallows. When the preschoolers prepared to graduate from high school, the researchers did a little follow up research. They discovered that the preschoolers who did not eat the marshmallow (waited until the researcher returned and earned a second marshmallow) were described by teachers and parents as more competent than those who quickly ate the single marshmallow. They scored an average of 210 points more on SAT tests. They tended to present as more positive, self-motivating, self-confident, and persistent. They exhibited the ability to delay gratification in pursuit of a goal (like waiting to get a second marshmallow). These habits, with delayed gratification as the centerpiece, can go on to contribute to thriving marriages, greater career satisfaction, and better health. This “marshmallow study” suggests that persistence and the ability to delay gratification sets the foundation for children to flourish and cope with the pressures of life. So, how can we help our children learn persistence? How can we help our children learn to delay gratification?
Researchers from Brigham Young University have recently helped us answer this question. They published a study that followed 325 two-parent families (with 11-14 year old children) in an effort to discover the origins of persistence. They found that both parents contributed to persistence. Interestingly though, persistence gained through fathers led to higher engagement in school and lower rates of delinquency over time. What did these fathers do that had the greatest impact on a child’s level of persistence? They did three things that all parents can do:
     1.      The fathers engaged in warm, loving relationships with their children. They were available to their children and engaged them in interactions. They listened to their children. They played with their children.

2.      The fathers held their children accountable for their behavior and emphasized the reasons behind the rules. They loved their children enough to teach them right from wrong. They pointed out inappropriate behavior and disciplined that behavior. At the same time, they explained why that behavior was inappropriate and explained alternative desired behaviors.

3.      The fathers gave their children an appropriate level of autonomy. They did not hold them back; nor, did they push them beyond their ability. This demands knowing your child. What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? What are they developmentally able to do or not do? To learn the answers to these questions, a parent must take an interest in their child. They must become a student of their child and their child’s development.

Although this study pointed to the benefit of fathers in building persistence, both parents can practice the three ingredients noted above. When you do put these skills into practice, you increase the chances that your child will grow in their ability to stick to a task until it is done and pursue a goal until they achieve it. That is the beginning of success!

3 Attributes Every Parent Must Balance

Children want parents. Even when they yell in anger that they do not want or need a parent, deep down every child wants parents. Not just any parent either. Children want and need two things from their parents. First, they need parents who demand respect. Parents who are strong (“My dad’s bigger than your dad”). Parents who are not overwhelmed or frightened by their anger or frustration. Parents they can look up to. Second, they need parents who love them unconditionally. Parents who accept them just as they are, pimples and all. Parents they can turn to when hurt, sad, confused, or happy. Parents who are available to comfort and nurture as well as to motivate and discipline. That makes parenting quite the balancing act. You might say that effective parents balance the paradoxical needs of grace and truth, love and limits. Here are 3 specific areas every parent needs to balance in order to provide children with thing paradoxical needs of love and limits. 
  • Parents balance authority with compassion. Authority without compassion becomes harsh, critical, and judgmental. It is more concerned with the rules than the person. A child who lives under authority without compassion will likely rebel. Sooner or later, they will fight against the authority. In addition, they will think more poorly about themselves; after all, “the rules are more important than me and I can’t even keep all the rules.” Ultimately, “rules without relationships lead to rebellion.” Authority balanced with compassion teaches respect and cooperation. A compassionate authority offers meaningful explanations for the rules and emphasizes that the rules are designed for the protection and long-term benefit of the people involved. The practice of compassionate authority clearly places a loving priority on the person.
  • Parents balance protective guidance with the freedom to explore. Children need guidance. They lack the wisdom and experience necessary to make momentary life decisions without parental input. The area of the brain involved in thinking ahead and making complex decisions (the frontal lobe) is not fully developed until the mid-twenties. As a result, parents need to become “co-frontal lobes” with their children and teens, helping them talk through decisions and helping them consider all the possible consequences of that decision. Yes, parents need to offer protective guidance to their children. At the same time, children need room to explore. They need the opportunity to exercise their curiosity. That demands freedom, down time, even unsupervised times. It also means that our children may make mistakes during their exploration. Even then, they benefit from the freedom to learn from those mistakes. Protective guidance and freedom to explore, both offered by a parent to their child.
  • Parents balance belonging with individuality. We love it when our children to engage in family activities. We long for them to remain an integral part of the family. In fact, they need to know they belong, that they have a place in our family. Children grow confident when they know they “fit in” with their family. They grow strong when they know their family sees them as an integral part of the whole family. At the same time, children are their own people. They have their own interests and abilities, their own individuality. As parents, we strive to balance family time with individual time. We work to assure our children feel a sense of belonging and security within the family. We want them to know we enjoy their presence and desire a mutual, reciprocal relationship with them. At the same time, we want to grant them the freedom to become their own person, to pursue their own interests, and to develop their own life. This means “holding them loosely” and “letting them go” as they mature. Quite the balance, to create an intimate sense of belonging with our children while “holding them loosely.”

5 Steps of Moral Development (and What’s a Parent To Do?)

One day my 5-year-old daughter came to the top of the stairs and called my name, “Daddy.” She sounded somewhat panicked. I knew that she and her sister were both upstairs so I wasn’t sure what to expect. “Daddy,” she called again. When I arrived at the bottom of the stairs, she said, “We don’t hit in this house, right?!” I was not sure if she meant that as a question or a proclamation. Either way, I voiced my agreement. “Right. No hitting.” She calmly returned to her room. To this day I do not know why she asked that question. It did reveal that she was beginning to internalize some of our rules though. That is a goal for all parents—to help our children move from externally influenced moral decisions to internally influenced moral decisions. We want them to internalize a moral compass based on our family values. Internalizing values does not happen overnight. It takes time, begins at a very young age, and seems to follow the sequence noted in the chart below. The chart also notes just a couple helpful responses for parents.
Externally controlled behavior: Children need adults to prompt appropriate behavior
·         Want to do the right thing to avoid punishment.
·         Fear authority and do not want to be punished
·         Let your child know the consequences of their misbehavior. Making the consequences clear will help deter them from engaging in misbehavior.
·         Follow through with the consequences you establish, even if your children look hurt and sad. And, they will look hurt because they hate punishment.
·         Children become more invested in behaving appropriately in order to receive a reward.
·         They behave well for a reward.
·         The most powerful reward is a parent’s praise and attention. Children love to hear their parents praise and encouragement.
·         Take the time to acknowledge and praise specific things about their work and play.
·         By simply acknowledging the specifics of their positive actions you encourage them to continue that positive behavior.
·         Statement as simple as “I appreciate how carefully you put that dish away” makes your child feel valued and encourages them to continue that positive behavior.
·         As a child moves through the elementary school years, their ability to see things from another person’s viewpoint improves.
·         Since they can see the world through another person’s eyes, they become more invested in maintaining the affection and approval of parents and friends.
·         In the preteen and teen years, this desire for approval in the eyes of others increases the power of peer pressure.
·         Teach your children how their behavior impacts other people. Keep your lectures short and point out the consequences of their behavior on them and others.
·         Maintain an open dialogue with your children about values and moral ideas. Create an environment that is open to discussion about different ideas while explaining the benefit of the values your live by.
·         Encourage confidence in their ability to think through moral decisions and their strength to stand by their decisions.
·         Children begin to understand that rules help maintain order…order in the house, order in the school, and order in the community.
·         They realize that rules keep society safe and healthy. Without rules, communities would have chaos.
·         Rules are necessary and good. Even more, rules are for everybody.
·         Fairness and equality become important. What is “good for the goose is good for gander.” Right and wrong is very concrete, black and white.
·         This is a great time for parents to calmly discuss and reinforce the reason for various family rules. This will help your children internalize the values and moral ideas of your family.
·         Live by the rules yourself. Your child is watching. They learn more through observation than lecture, so walk the talk.

Internally controlled behavior

·         Teens learn to think more abstractly about the benefit of rules.
·         They learn that some families have different rules than the ones you live by in your family. 
·         Maintain an open dialogue with your child about family values and rules.  
·         Explaining the reasoning behind the rules while living them out yourself will help your child internalize the rules.
·         Discussion may also lead to some compromises. Be open to appropriate compromises when they arise.
·         Through this process, your child will be making conscious choices about which rules they will choose to live by. They will be internalizing values.

What Your Parenting Destination

“I start my vacation tomorrow, Frank!”
“Great! Where are you going?”
“I don’t know.”
“When are you leaving?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, how are you going to get there?”
“I don’t know.”
Most people do not start their vacation without knowing the destination and mapping out a route to that destination. But, many people start the journey of parenthood without any thought as to the final destination or the route to get there. We have children, but no destination for them in mind. We parent with little to no idea of the route from here to the final destination. 
An ancient proverb states, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained” (Proverbs 29:18–NASB). With no vision, there is no organizing goal or destination. If parents have no vision for their children’s future, how will they discipline? If they have no goal to define their parenting style, what behaviors will they nurture? If they have no destination of future character in mind, how will they instruct? With no vision, they find little reason to establish limits that go beyond keeping their children “out of their hair.”
Children in this situation become “unrestrained,” unbridled, loosed from any guiding conscience. Without the restraint of guiding principles, children determine their own direction before they have the wisdom and experience to do so. They become rebellious, unwilling to submit to any guiding principles, whether in the school, home, or community. Without a motivating destination, children become floaters. They float from one activity to another with no real commitment to anything–no staying power, no determination, no zeal. As a result, they become easy prey to the many sharks waiting to take advantage of children who aimlessly wander without the vision and guidance of a parent in their life. Soon, they may experience the shame of living at a standard below their potential, dependent on others, with no steady job, and perhaps even in trouble with the law.
Parents who have a vision of the character they want their child to develop will organize their parenting style to achieve that goal. They will establish limits with the intent of helping their child develop into a responsible adult. They will love and nurture with the intent of helping their child mature into a loving and caring adult. The clearer a parent can envision a final destination, the more successfully he can guide his child in that direction. So, take a moment to consider your parenting destination…your vision for your child. Where do you want your child to “end up”? What kind of adult do you want them to become? You might say “happy,” “a great athlete,” or “valedictorian;” but, think a little harder. Is that really the most important destination for your child? After all, what kind of character does a happy person possess? What kind of character traits will make your child a person you can admire? What does your child need to learn to move from today’s level of maturity to greater maturity tomorrow? Here are a few questions to help clarify a vision to guide your parenting:
1.      Do you want your child to have fame and fortune…or the wisdom to make wise choices in life?
2.      Is it more important that your child become a scholar and straight “A” student… or that your child be known as dependable and trustworthy?
3.      Do you want your child to become fiercely independent… or kind, compassionate, and considerate?
4.      Would you rather your child see themselves as a step above the crowd… or envision themselves as a person who serves others with a humble confidence?
5.      Would you prefer your child be known as a great athlete… or a person who has a reputation of honesty and integrity?
6.      Do you dream of your child enjoying great material wealth… or the riches of deep, loving relationships?
7.      Do you want your child to constantly strive for the approval and acceptance that comes from performing well… or do you want them to grow increasingly thankful for the person they have become and the blessings they have received?
8.      Would you rather your child grow into a great business person… or a great husband/wife, father/mother?
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with standing above the crowd or becoming famous, independent, a great athlete, materially wealthy, or a great businessman. But, is that the ultimate goal of your parenting efforts? After 20 years of untiring effort and sacrificial time, what destination do you really hope to enjoy? Whatever destination you choose will determine the route you take. Whichever answer you choose will guide your actions and your parenting.