“Don’t these things come with a set of instructions?!” Almost every first-time mom or dad has said something like this at some point. In my case, it was several times a day for the first two kids. By kid #4, I was starting to get the hang of it. Now, I just get that perplexed, Bill Cosby ‘dad’ look on my face and say, “Where’s your mother?”
The age range of my children is 2-13. As my children have grown, I’ve started thinking less about having an instruction manual for me to use in figuring them out and more about giving them an instruction manual for how to live. I see them experiencing some of the same struggles I experienced and I want them either to avoid the pain altogether or to learn quickly and well so their pain is not meaningless. There is nothing worse than pointless pain.
So, I’m starting to develop a strategic plan of sorts for my children’s success. As a start, I’m compiling a list of books I want my children to read before they leave the comfort and protection of home and head off into the “real world”. Starting with the Bible, here’s the beginning of a list of books that are essential reading for my children:
- The Bible
- The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews
- Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
- Epic by John Eldredge
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
While the books are a great start (and those make up a small portion of the list), I want to identify the simple core principles that define who we are as individuals and as members of our family. I want my children to be able to recall them from memory with ease. The Golden Rule and Andy Andrews’ Seven Decisions are a great start.
Have you every thought purposefully about what you want your children to do and be? What lessons do you want them to learn? What are the guiding principles you want them to live their lives by? Or, are you just trying to get through each day and hoping they turn out ok?