Rebecca Hagelin

These timeless words from the Bible have inspired mankind throughout the ages, reminding us of the necessity to think about the future and our role in it. As a parent, it's easy to forget the vision part as we are caught up in the "tyranny of the urgent" and the day-to-day challenges of raising children.

Many overwhelmed parents institute a bunch of rules and routines to help get through each day. But don't mistake having a list of "dos" and "don'ts" for parenting - it's more like policing. Having rules without telling our children what they mean in context of their future can leave them feeling frustrated and angry. Worse still, living a legalistic life can result in emptiness. Yes, your children should obey you just because you "said so", but parenting also involves inspiring them to do so.

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Today's culture teaches our kids to live for the moment, to fulfill selfish desires and cravings, and says very little about who - not just what - they should become. No one is inspiring and encouraging our children to become adults whose lives are marked by strong moral character, goodness, truth and joy. We need to set the vision clearly before them - and you can't do that with just a set of rules. If you don't thoughtfully connect your rules with how they help your children have a beautiful, meaningful life, you have missed the opportunity to raise sons and daughters of purpose.

Write a vision statement for each of your children. This doesn't mean you are telling them WHAT you want them to be, rather, it's WHO you want them to become.

Nothing creates more happiness and hope in a young heart than knowing that mom and dad believe you are capable of greatness.

Take the time to inspire your children by sharing your vision of a bright future for their lives. Let them know that you want them to be marked by integrity, fidelity, love and compassion for others. Tell them that you are committed to them, and that you will do everything in your power to help them become a man or woman of grace and strength.

Rebecca Hagelin

Rebecca Hagelin is a public speaker on the family and culture and the author of the new best seller, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.
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