No successful business person would ever dream of stepping into a meeting without an agenda, yet these same people return home each evening and parent on a “day by day” basis. I want to challenge you to take a few minutes now and think about what kind of person you want walking out your door on their way to college. When I had my daughters, I really spent a lot of time developing a very proactive parenting approach. I discovered exactly what I was looking for and then I designed a plan to achieve just that!
There are specific skills your teen is going to need to be productive, successful leaders of their community. With that in mind, we need to be willing to use and capture all the teachable moments we are offered in this short amount of time we have left. One of the most important things I learned from going through this process with my own family is that, once the big decisions are made, the little ones are very easy. I wanted my daughters to be self-discipline, self-directed, self-taught, self-confident leaders. So, as things came up in our lives, I was able to refer to my list and ask whether this activity or decision would get my girls to where they needed to go. If it didn’t lead me to the overall goal and desire then it was not the route for us! This technique allowed me to stay very grounded and to remember what was important to me so that I could raise my daughters to be the women they deserved to be.
Keep in mind your role in this process. You are a very important influence in the molding of your children. Ask yourself: What values are important? What are the goals/desires? What is the plan? Without a plan, you are like a leaf in the wind that gets blown in any and every direction. Imagine getting on a plane and the pilot came on and said: “Welcome. We’re so glad you are traveling with us this afternoon. Now, just sit back and enjoy the wonderful in-flight service. We have a wonderful movie planned for you and, well, we are not really sure where we are going to be landing this evening, but I know it’s going to be a great flight.” Would you stay on the plane? I know I wouldn’t! So just like flying, parenting requires a destination and a clear plan to arrive at that place. Just like a plane that may get off course, it is very easy to self -correct when the destination is clear. You don’t have to go back to the start and begin the trip again. You simply adjust the route.