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Count the Cost of Effective Parenting - Issue 242
March 16, 2012
Hi there! ....

This week has been busy and yet slow all that the same time. Lots going on but we’ve also dealt with sickness and a birthday (which means a day off for everyone who wants to take it!). So for the time we were supposed to be productive, we were – and for the other times – we weren’t!!

It was my birthday during the week and celebrations stretched over till Friday night where we celebrated with a family dinner – a three course meal cooked by Jess. It was delicious and she did well to get it all to the table without fuss. Lots of “Masterchef” favourite quotes floating around the table as we had a relaxed time together enjoying the fruit of her labour!

Live life with your kids!

If you are an Australian reader I would appreciate you reading this special request.

Also if you are an Australian Homeschooler - Have you heard of this conference? I'll be one of the speakers, and would love to meet you there. Go to Mum Heart Conference website.

Count the Cost

I was looking back over some old files and found this presentation I prepared for a group of mums over ten years ago. As I read through it I could see my journey, decisions I made many years ago and how they have shaped my family, but I could also see that some of these challenges are still present today though with older children they look different. So I thought I would share it with you – as it was written many years ago. It starts with a question – a question I’d like you to ask yourself:

“Am I prepared to count the cost of effective parenting?”

This challenge came as I was reading a passage in Luke 14:28-31

For which one of you when he wants to build a tower does not sit down first and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid down a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish”

It is a bit late for me to sit down and count the cost of building a strong family – my family already exists! But the challenge is still relevant – the principle is still relevant - when we start something we need to make sure we have what it takes to finish it.

Do I have what it takes to finish this task of parenting – there are days it doesn’t feel like I do!

The word that summed up the cost of effective parenting to me is SACRIFICE.

Sacrifice is a word that is not very popular in our me-centered society. Sacrifice means to forego, give up, forfeit, let go, lose, and surrender. These words do not describe the way we are taught to make it in the world. We are taught to look out for number one, strive for your own rights. We are taught that we deserve the best we can have. Am I prepared, for the sake of teaching my children character, to give up some of my rights, to give up some of my self set goals, to let go of some of my self imposed standards. This will cut across my very nature.

Can I count this cost and pay up? These are some of the questions I have to ask myself (Just a comment here, these areas I am sharing are personal examples not principles to live by. What is okay and in balance in one person’s life may need adjusting in another’s – please consider the principle and make your own applications.)

  • Can I give up my huge craft habit (I am not talking here of denying all relaxation but the challenge made me look at my priorities and make some adjustments) …My craft sessions can leave me totally absorbed as my creative mind wanders here and there. I am not very other’s centered when this happens. Am I willing to make a change in this area of my life? Count the cost!

  • Can I forego my right to time by myself … parenting is time consuming. Am I willing to give of my time – that is, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, a lifetime of being there for my children – to be there emotionally as well as physically? Once again I’m not talking about having no time to yourself, but rather this has to be a heart check. Is my heart self-focused, or towards my children? >Count the cost!

  • Can I forfeit my right to private space and breathing space? For me this means answering my children’s questions, questions and questions. There is always chatter in my house. I need to see this as an open opportunity to teach into my children’s lives instead of demanding my space and peace. Can I change my attitude? Count the cost!

  • Can I let go of my controlling need for cleanliness and order? What is to have a higher priority in my home – cleanliness or godliness, and they are not necessarily related! I must keep my focus on training my children and even though that may include setting an example of cleanliness the example is not to take over my time or attitude. Can I find a balance? Count the cost!

  • Can I lose my pride when my children don’t perform (I mean behave!!) as I had hoped? So often I am tempted to react out of embarrassment – my child is not going to say hello, my child is 5 and still throwing tantrums. Sacrificial parenting will lose the pride and not mind the embarrassment but work on the behaviour at home! My pride can not get in the way of training my children. Count the cost!

  • Can I be content at home, full time parenting, when so many other opportunities knock on my door. Can I surrender myself and my life to being the best mother God intended me to be. Count the cost!

Little by little I will need to make changes in my life, my habits and my attitude as I start to looking at the cost of this project I have started – building children who love Jesus with their whole heart, mind and soul, children with character and morals, children who will stand tall in their society. Children, who I pray, will turn around one day and call me blessed. (Proverbs 31)

It takes time, energy, and focus to be a parent. Am I prepared to pay whatever it takes?

I blog during the week over at Live life with your Kids Blog. Not much time to blog this week but I did announce that I'll be one of the speakers at the Mum Heart Conference:

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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