What's for Dinner?
“Let’s just eat out somewhere,” my husband said leaving our daughter’s soccer game one evening.
I agreed. Like many nights, I had nothing planned for dinner, and although I can defrost chicken like a champ, I really didn’t have the mental energy to whip up something from my What’s for Dinner? Pinterest board.
“Well the kids and I had Chick-fil-A recently so I don’t really want anything like that,” I said ruling out every fast-food joint serving chicken nuggets.
We then started the back and forth negotiations. There were plenty of options, but what we really lacked was a mediator in the minivan.
We drove through the parking lot of Arby’s, parked outside of Zaxby’s, went back to our house, and then eventually ordered take-out from Buffalo Wild Wings.
It was pure chaos. We ate dinner at 8:30 that night and then threw our kids into their beds by their 9:00 bedtime. The fries tasted like soggy styrofoam filled with regret. We somehow had eaten out but our kitchen would have said otherwise. The irritability was high, and the satisfaction was low.
What went wrong?
The end goal was the same for everyone. We all wanted to eat dinner, but there was no method or plan on how to arrive there.
Most of us want to be “good” parents. To please God by raising our children His way. To create adults that are functioning members of society, but are more importantly a member of a greater community. Children that turn into adults that love God and love others.
But how do we get there? What should we be doing daily to meet a lifetime goal?
*This list of resolutions is inspired by Jonathan Edward's Resolutions. If you have never read his version (and don't mind feeling like a failure while also being overcome with excitement), it will change your life. I am resolving to do these things daily, and though I will fail, I have a lifetime to keep trying.
1. Resolved to take all parenting advice and ask--Is this supported by God's word? Resolved to leave all gray areas to the Holy Spirit and to remind myself that my heart is more important than my choice in these circumstances.
2. Resolved to be real with other Moms. To not lift my kids too high or put them down when sharing our lives with others.
3. Resolved to remember that I was and still am a sinner just like my kids and that I still need Jesus as much as they do.
4. Resolved to teach my kids how to do things for themselves so that they can become functioning adults with real life skills such as doing laundry, cooking meals, spending money wisely, etc.
5. Resolved to teach them about the dangers of this world instead of the world doing it for me.
6. Resolved to diligently discipline them when they sin and to show mercy at the appropriate times.
7. Resolved to love them individually and to say it and show it every day.
8. Resolved to teach them how to rest without being lazy.
9. Resolved to remind them of the ways God has always exceeded in giving them extra (more than they deserve) when they complain, whine, or grumble.
10. Resolved to work on myself before working on them. Resolved to have my own relationship with Jesus Christ.
11. Resolved to talk about Jesus and Heaven every day throughout the day and to warn them of the Devil's desire to distort, deceive, and destroy.
12. Resolved to make my kids work hard doing things they don't want to do such as chores, running errands, and cleaning up after themselves, etc.
13. Resolved to teach them to pray not just at meal times but also throughout the day.
14. Resolved to not "play God" to my kids and to teach them to turn to Him when they need help or comfort. I will be gone one day, but He will not.
15. Resolved to be joyful (not to be confused with bubbly Barbie) even when they make me want to claw my eyeballs out.
16. Resolved to recognize their areas of weakness and to work alongside them to improve these areas.
17. Resolved to allow myself time away from my kids without feeling guilty. Cold Stone ice cream, the TJMaxx clothing section, or staring at a wall are all acceptable ways to spend such time.
18. Resolved to teach them to be healthy and respect their bodies without letting it become an idol.
19. Resolved to help them learn to be submissive to those in authority (parents, trusted adults, coaches, & teachers). Resolved not to be the Mom who blames those in authority for my kids' poor choices.
20. Resolved to tell them every day that it is it is not about them. It never was, and it never will be.
21. Resolved to meet their basic physical needs even if they eat cereal for the fourth time in a week.
22. Resolved to demonstrate how to love others that are not like them.
23. Resolved to help them use their gifts, talents, and abilities for Jesus Christ and not for money, power, or recognition. You can be a ninja or a princess or even a dinosaur for Jesus!
24. Resolved to be involved. To not be a sideline fan and to be part of the game.
25. Resolved to have a home that welcomes people in and to teach hospitality.
26. Resolved to have fun, to be silly, and to allow messes at our house. Resolved to let kids run around in their underwear, play in the mud, and have sticky faces.
27. Resolved to let them have unstructured free time to play. I am not responsible for entertaining them 27 hours of the day.
28. Resolved to use the TV less and the Bible more.
29. Resolved to let them be kids but to also be training them for adulthood realizing there's a healthy balance.
30. Resolved to have them serve and encourage one another.
31. Resolved to pray for their souls. Daily.
32. Resolved to do everything I possibly can to hinder my kids from going to Hell. Resolved to give them no evidence that Jesus is not wanted or needed in our lives.
Don’t let a lifetime go by without doing the daily things necessary to guide your children into the love of God. Because I am not perfect and neither is my family, we may still have arguments over McDonald's or Wendy's, but we have a lifetime to keep trying.
Grace Giver: God's mercy never comes to an end. It is new every morning (Lamentations 2:22-23). When we have a bad day, we get to ask our God and our children for forgiveness. We get to start over. We get a second try. We even get a 9,473rd try.
Truth Teller: Parenting is a battle. A battle that is waged as much on the inside as it is on the out. You and I must first be filled with the love of God before we are able to pour into our kids. An empty cup has nothing to give.