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Parenting with Purpose

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What are your parenting goals?


It’s easy to get caught up in the daily chaos of raising children and honestly, sometimes that can be a good thing. When we had our first baby, the pediatrician told us, “Don’t worry about setting habits right now. You are in survival mode — just do what it takes to get through the day.” It might sound like weird advice, but it was some of the best parenting advice I have ever received. It was a freeing reminder that we just needed to help our child the best way we knew how, minute by minute and hour by hour. If you have a newborn in your house or are dealing with another major change or crisis, I encourage you to lean on God’s strength to love your child as best you can today. He will carry you.

When you are not in the midst of a major life changing situation, you have an incredible opportunity to be strategic in raising your children. Look at Psalm 127 (NIV):

Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.

Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat — for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.

The first half of the Psalm gives us the only trustworthy foundation for strategic parenting: God’s help. Strategic parenting isn’t about worrying over the future. Even if the builders are laboring on the house, it’s really God who gets the house built. Even if we are parenting diligently and thoughtfully, it’s God who can transform our children into wise and loving adults.

But we do have a role to play. God has entrusted children to us as a gift, and God wants us to be strategic and intentional in our parenting. Look at what the Psalm compares children to — arrows. Arrows aren’t meant to stay in a quiver forever, and they aren’t meant to be tossed aimlessly into the air. They work best when they are aimed, carefully and attentively, towards the right target.

Here are three gifts God gives us to aim or steer our families. I’ve added some questions beneath each gift for you to think and pray about.

Dads: Want to learn more about parenting with purpose?

Please join us for the first Strategic Dads University session on January 29.



(looking ahead to see where you want to go and how you want to be remembered)

  • What is your ideal vision for your child:
    • In 20 years
    • In 10 years
    • In 5 years
    • In 1 year


(evaluating what is best for you and your family)

  • Is there anything you are doing now to or for your child that could keep them from reaching where you would like to see them end up?
  • What are your child’s gifts? How can you encourage those gifts?
  • What are your child’s struggles? How can you help them?
  • What are some ways that your child grew in 2018?
  • What is a potential challenge or change your child will face in 2019?


(making practical plans to turn vision into reality)

  • What are the things you want your child to be able to do by the age 10 or 18 or 21?
  • When is the right time for your child to learn these things?
  • What does your child need to help face a potential challenge?
  • What are the things you need to start doing now to teach your child these things?
  • What is one thing you want to be true about your child a year from now?
  • What is one word that can help you and your child remember that goal?

Howard Graham

Howard Graham served as Chaplain at PDS and Executive Director of the Building Boys, Making Men program from 2018-2020.

Building Boys, Making Men is a PDS-created program designed to give boys a godly vision and definition of manhood. We believe that boys should be intentionally taught about authentic manhood and have a biblical framework for making wise and edifying choices during their teenage years and beyond. The definition of manhood we teach our boys:

A real man glorifies God by seeking an adventurous life of purpose and passion as he protects and serves others.