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  • Writer's pictureGina Stinson

Defining Successful Living

Today is our third day sharing back to school tips for the 2020 school year. This year has been like no other, and it you are like many, there's been some added stress and worry regarding school beginning. Whether you're sending your kiddos to school, homeschooling or a little of both, these tips are designed to bring some grace and peace to what could otherwise be a chaotic and anxious time.

Tip #3: Define what is important in your household. Communicating expectations and priorities helps develop reasonable action plans for less stress. For instance, if having a clean house is super important to you, then you need to take the time to form an action plan for that to happen (because we all know that doesn't happen magically!) If having your child put forth their best effort is important to you, take the time to sit down and talk about what that looks like for them. If the most important thing to you is your child's character, then help them understand what good character is to you, to God and toward others.

Successful living doesn't just happen. In God's word he instructs us how to live. He doesn't just create us and then leave us to figure out life on it's own. He uses his word to guide us and instruct us in the most important things in life. He took the time to breathe these words into existence. In that same fashion, our kids will not naturally know or read our minds regarding our expectations and goals for them. We have to help them discover their potential, guiding them with God's word as they develop into the beautiful people God created them to be.

Learning to communicate with them in a way they understand will help eliminate many stressors in the future. From the start if we can teach our children to listen to those godly influences pouring into their lives, we will not only save ourselves heartache and stress today, but in the future.

So take some time to sit down and talk about those things that are important to you, to your family and to God. Make a plan of action and communicate those expectations so your days can be filled with less stress and more peace.

Ideas for communicating:

1. Meet with each child and talk about areas they want to grow in. Create a journal together that lets them document their path to achieving their goals.

2. Communicate with your family on a white board or chalkboard monthly goals and expectations. If you want to plant a garden in April, you have to start preparing the ground before then. Think ahead and prepare your family for what's coming up.

3. Celebrate victories! If your child tidies up his room everyday, find a way to celebrate his obedience. A sticker, or bedtime story or a playdate every once in a while reminds them you are watching and see their effort and obedience.

4. Keep your spouse or other adults in your family "in the know." Make sure you are communicating schedules, priorities and expectations with your spouse. When your child's school schedule changes or when company is coming for dinner, it's important that everyone is on the same page.

5. Lastly, but most importantly, grace. No home or school year operates perfectly. When we miss appointments or the house is trashed or a homework assignment is missed, it's not the end of the world. This year (and every year) let's extend grace where and when we can. Let's be generous and patient as we learn to live differently.

We all desire homes that run smoothly. It takes effort. When I look back at my years of parenting (so far) I see God's grace all over it. He knows my heart wants to provide a safe, peaceful place for my family to land. In all my mistakes, he has carried me and given grace after grace. He has blessed my feeble efforts and given favor at my attempts to honor him. I have not arrived. My only hope for my parenting days, is to do my best to accept his grace and follow his instruction.

Isn't that our only hope every single day? Let's do that today. Embrace grace and follow his instruction.

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