Parenting to Shape and Shepherd a Child’s Heart

Have you ever found yourself somewhere unintentionally?  

During my junior year of college, I received a letter inviting me to join the honor society. The letter caught me off guard, not because I didn’t know my grades, but because it was never my aim. I was not what you might consider an “academic.” I studied and worked hard mostly because I enjoyed what I was learning, not because I wanted a certain GPA. I like to say I graduated with honors by accident. 

Sometimes we reach an end result that is good without aiming for it, but often we end up with a result that isn’t quite what we hoped for. 

When I became a parent, I had a clear vision for our children’s first 3 years of life: sleeping routines, feeding schedules, potty training, and learning sign language. I knew where we were headed. However, I soon realized there was more to shepherding and shaping a child’s heart and mind and I felt lost and overwhelmed. 


3 Next Steps Towards Parenting on Purpose 


Parenting is hard, repetitive, and monotonous. Without a clear vision and direction, the day in and out can seem insignificant. A captain uses a rudder to steer a ship. Where the rudder is aimed, the ship will end up. The captain can choose his destination, but he won’t end up there unless he aims the rudder in the right direction. 

We can live our days parenting by default and still come out okay, but if we intentionally set our aim toward Jesus we and our children will unfold by His design. 

Scripture doesn’t give us a five-step plan for parenting but it does give us guides to help us parent on purpose.  

“Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.”

— Proverbs 29:18 NIV  

Here are three ways to begin to parent on purpose: 

1. Find a mentor: Seek out a parent or couple who is several years ahead of you that you want to model.  

2. Set Your Vision: A simple phrase to help you begin to set your vision is “Begin with the end in mind.” Who do you want your children to become? What memories or experiences do you want to have as a family?  

3. Look in Scripture: How does God parent us? How does He train and discipline us?  


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