Parenting for True Success not Worldly Success

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Shift your goal setting from “head goals” that focus on worldly success to “heart goals” that help your kid’s heart move toward God.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes to help your kid succeed? One guarantee we have as Christians is that God loves us (and our kids) in a way that surpasses all understanding. Which means God is working behind the scenes to bring His perfect plan into fruition— a plan that is exactly perfect for each and every one of our kids.

You see how I just used the word perfect two times in one paragraph? That wasn’t an editing mistake (or my inability to use a thesaurus), but simply my effort to explain to you that God’s plan is—you guessed it—perfect. Which means we can trust that our kids are in His hands and that He has a plan.

Now that I’ve reassured you that God is in control, I want to remind you that God has called us to be active participants in the stewardship of our kids. Which means you can’t just sit around sipping lattes while waiting for God to act.

Instead, we imperfect parents are called to team up with our perfect God to lay the foundation for success for our kids. The following Fifteen Factors make up a list of characteristics that lead to true success—not worldly success but successful relationships and most important, a true and lasting faith in God. And by helping our kids to attain and internalize these characteristics, we can help them succeed in school and in life.

The Fifteen Factors to Help Your Kid Succeed

1. Genuine faith: A faith that is personal and real.
2. Vision: A long-term hope that aspires to follow God’s plan.
3. Resiliency: The ability to bounce back from setbacks and failures.
4. Wise decision making: A willingness to make good choices even when it’s not easy.
5. Work ethic: The understanding that effort, more than talent, produces success.
6. Responsibility: A choice not to make excuses or cast blame when there is an issue.
7. Courage: A willingness to try in spite of fear of failure.
8. Focus: The ability to concentrate on a given task.
9. Godly knowledge: A strong foundation of biblical understanding that leads to a sense of what’s really true. (Truth = God, by the way.)
10. Self-control: The ability to delay gratification in order to do the right thing.
11. Discernment: The capacity to distinguish good and evil, right and wrong, reality from fantasy.
12. Self-motivation: The desire to work toward a goal without extrinsic reinforcement.
13. Teachable spirit: A humble spirit that’s willing to listen and learn.
14. Honesty: The willingness to tell the truth even when it means admitting to a mistake.
15. Positive attitude: The choice to try rather than give up; to be thankful instead of grumbling; to encourage rather than complain.

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Everything you work on and pray for should be with a long-term vision in mind. I want to encourage you to make a shift in your goal setting from “head goals” — goals that simply focus on worldly success — to “heart goals” that help your kid’s heart move toward God.

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Your Turn

How can you make “The Fifteen Factors” part of the daily vocabulary you use with your child? Are you moving toward heart goals instead of head goals? Leave a comment below – we’d love to hear from you!

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Erin MacPherson

Erin MacPherson is a mom of three who never does anything halfway. When she discovered she was pregnant she decided to write about it—but then kept writing. A former staff writer and editor for Nickelodeon, Erin now entertains parents on her personal blog as well as through her book series, The Christian Mama's Guides (Thomas Nelson, 2013), freelance magazine articles, devotionals and speaking. She wants to come beside her readers not only as a confidant and Christian sister, but also as a best girlfriend who understands what daily life is all about.

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