Sharpen Your Toolset
When it comes to parenting, we should always remember the old adage, “Sharp tools make light work!” In parenting, the sharper our toolset, the easier the role of parenting becomes.
Some tools, if sharpened, will increase your ability to get better results with your children. These tools are:
- Physical health- Exercise, eat healthier and get some sleep.
- Patience- comes from feeling prepared and ahead of the game.
- Space- Have the space and time to think, explore, anticipate and prepare for your time with your children.
Embrace Your Role as Servant
The single fastest way to fall in love with someone is simply to serve them, and the same is true with your children. Serving another human being is a powerful opportunity to grow and learn and is the unique responsibility of being a parent. I’m convinced that for many parents, what ends up creating the most stress in our lives is the fact that we are getting too selfish to actually serve even our children unconditionally. It is our selfishness that frustrates us most about our children, not our children. Instead of keeping score about how many times you have been served by your children, just embrace your role as servant. Find ways every day to specifically “lose” yourself in their service. In every interaction with every human we meet, we should be asking, “how may I serve you?” instead of “what have you done for me lately?” Ironically your peaceful example of service will be the best way to teach your children how to serve you and others.
Parent from Your Peace, not Your Planner
Nothing creates more overwhelm as a parent than obsessing about every single thing that needs to be done for your family. Trying to lead your family from your overscheduled day planner or calendar means you’re already losing the battle to find the peace in your life. Instead, focus on actually leading your life by setting your daily agenda from a place of peace, not your planner. Here’s some steps to do that:
- Every morning, allow yourself to find a space to calmly think about each and every member of your family. Think about their good qualities and the love you have for them.
- Once you’re in that peaceful space, ask yourself one question, "What’s the most important thing I can do today for my child, to have the greatest impact?” Write down whatever answer comes to your mind.
- Spend your time then focusing on that one activity and remember that that one thing came from the heart in the moment of pure peace. Work that day to make that one thing happen and try to get anything else you need to get done as well, but not until you’ve accomplished the most important things.
Listen to Understand, not to Respond
All humans need to know you really understand their problems before they'll willingly give you access to help them solve their problems. All roads to lasting change go through the heart, and the fastest way to gain access to another’s heart is to truly empathize with the person you’re trying to help. Remember we were all given two ears that were meant to stay open and one mouth that was meant to close. The inherent rule of parenting then is that we should listen twice as much as we speak, which is the exact opposite of what most parents do. Usually as parents we think our tenure here on earth automatically gives us the power and influence over our children. We must always remember, however, that the power to influence another is not given by our position, but instead by our understanding and our ability to show that understanding to the other.
By Matt Townsend
Be sure and check out my Parenting Course on www.MattTownsend.com which will give you many more tools to raise resilient and independent children.
For more than 2 decades, Dr. Matt Townsend has been educating and energizing audiences with his unique lessons on life, love, and leadership. Known as one of America’s top presenters in the field of Human Relations and Development. Matt completed both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the field of communication with an emphasis on conflict resolution. He then earned a second master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems. For years Matt has been heard on “The Matt Townsend Show” on Sirius/XM Channel 143, BYU Radio. He can also be seen weekly on KSL Television’s Studio 5 with Brooke Walker. The love of his life is his wife Mardi. They raised 6 children and are thoroughly enjoying being grandparents of 3.