Your relationship with your children... is determined by the law of the harvest, not the last-minute urgency of the final exam . ~ Parenting, p. 5
Before satellites and GPS, before travel apps and Google Maps, navigation often relied on a celestial system. For centuries, sailors, navigators, and travelers used the stars to help guide their journeys — in particular, the North Star, or Polaris, to use its proper name. While Polaris isn’t the brightest star on any given night, it’s often easy to identify no matter where you are in the Northern Hemisphere. And it holds a unique, relatively fixed position, providing immediate orientation for the direction north.
The reliability and consistency of the North Star have made it a popular, long-standing metaphor as well. Whether a “north star” refers to goals, values, destinations, or moral principles, knowing your north star provides greater perspective and points you in the right direction. It reminds you of the longer journey and not merely your immediate location. Keeping your north star in sight prevents you from getting distracted by obstacles and problems that might take you off course. It allows you to set and maintain your direction over the long haul.
Having a north star for parenting serves the same purpose. Your north star is the “it” you want to get right to ensure that your children receive the love, attention, provision, and wisdom you have to offer. Too often you may overlook the need for a guiding goal because of the daily demands and draining challenges of parenting. But that’s all the more reason to take time to look at the long view and establish a parenting north star, which is our starting point for this first lesson.
If you or any of your group members are just getting to know one another, take a few minutes to introduce yourselves. Then, to get things started, discuss the following questions:
- Have you ever established a north star in parenting your children?
- If so, how has it helped you stay on course?
Watch Video (21:00 minutes)
Play the video segment for Session 1. As you watch, use the following video notes to record any thoughts or concepts that stand out to you.
- Parents often wonder, “Am I doing it right?”
- To get it right, you have to determine your it.
- Direction determines destination. The direction you choose, consciously or unconsciously, will largely determine your children’s destination.
- If you don’t define and choose your it, it will be chosen for you.
- Caught up in the whirlwind of parenting without a north star, you usually react rather than lead toward a predetermined destination.
- Our parenting goal was to raise kids who enjoy being with us and with each other even when they no longer have to be. We parented with the relationship in mind.
- Your relationship with your children is determined by the law of the harvest, not the urgency of daily demands.
- Rather than cultivating codependency, develop independence, an essential ingredient for mutually satisfying relationships.
- Parenting with the relationship in mind leads to better relationships.
- Your children do not have the same relationship with you that you have with them.
- We should always choose our words with our role in mind rather than our children’s size, age, or reaction in mind.
- Never argue with your children—you are their parent, not their peer.
- The unavoidable tension between a parent and their children builds relational strength.
As you consider what you just watched, use the following questions to discuss with your group members these ideas, their basis, and their appli- cations in your life.
- When it comes to parenting, how often have you wondered, “Am I doing it right?” How often do you second-guess your decisions as a parent?
- How would you describe the direction of your parenting until now? How do you think your children might describe it?
- Would you describe your parenting style as more reactive or more deliberate? Why?
- How does parenting with the relationship in mind resonate with the direction you want to take your family?
- What does it mean for your relationship with your children to be different from their relationship with you? What does this look like in your family?
- Do you agree that conflict between you and your children can make your relationship stronger? Why or why not?
Process Your Parenting
In this first session, you’ve started the process of exploring what it means to reconsider the way you parent and to determine your north star. Regardless of the age and stage of your children, and setting aside the various emotions that may be swirling inside, consider where and how your family will end up if you continue parenting in your present direction.
To start processing the principles in this first session, silently ask God to help you clarify your goal for parenting so that you will see a harvest in the lives of you and your children. Then answer the questions below before reconvening with the group.
- What is the harvest you want to see in the lives of your children as they mature into adults?
- What seeds are you planting and cultivating in your children’s lives to produce this harvest?
- In one sentence, what is your north star for parenting?
Now go around the group and allow each person to share their north star statement. You don’t have to share, but getting brief feedback from the group can be a great way to begin processing the changes you want to make in your parenting.
Conclude your session by sharing any requests you would like the group to lift up in prayer. Thank God for bringing you together for this study so that you can help and encourage one another as you pursue being wiser, more intentional parents. Ask him to give you clarity, wisdom, and discernment as you proceed with this group study. Trust that your heavenly Father will equip and empower you to follow his example of a loving parent.
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Come share your thoughts on session one of Parenting and Getting It Right.