Five Ways to Change The World (if you're a parent)

Parenthood. It's more demanding than my career. Broken sleep, school runs, preparing food, helping with homework, settling disputes, getting them dressed, tending to scrapes and bumps, and the list goes on. Not that I'm complaining. No, I wouldn't change it for the world. But sometimes I think that parenthood is putting the brakes on my desire to change this world.

Really, I keep on champing at the bit to get out there and do something big. Wherever "out there" is. I feel like I am ready to make a difference but unable to because of my circumstances. But then I am thankfully reminded of a critical truth, and it brings some much needed understanding and peace.

The best way for me to change the world is by being the best father that I can be. For if I change the world for the better, but in doing so forsake my family, then I have ultimately failed. And if I impart to my kids the faith and values that I see the world through, then I am helping shape the lives of another three world-changers. Everyday, I play a huge role in my children's world, be they one, two, or five years old. I know that I am closely observed by them, and every decision and action that I make can impact their physical, emotional, and spiritual development. These early years are so critical, and I for one need reminding of that. A lot. This is probably the only time in my life that I can have such a profound influence on other people. It's all about the importance of now.

So here are my top five ways to be a world-changer, if you're a parent.
  1. Love them. The single most important aspect of parenting. Love them with a nurturing, unconditional love that lets them know that you are there for them, no matter what. If our kids know this, deeply, they are set to love well themselves.
  2. Challenge them. Kids need healthy challenges. Like muscles, they need to push boundaries to grow in strength and character. Obviously, challenges need to be age-appropriate. At the age of two, my oldest boy stubbornly trudged up a very steep hill, just to get to the top. Later I hope he will climb mountains with me. 
  3. Be present. This one is critical, and the one I find the hardest. With the many distractions of modern life (mobile phones, TV, internet, email, Facebook, and dare I say it, blogs), I need to consciously slow down and make sure I am being present with my kids. Just them and me, full undivided attention. It says to them "you are valued", "you do matter", and "I do love you". 
  4. Pray. I believe in the power of prayer. If you don't, then maybe you can take this point as the 'power of positive words'. Sometimes, as my children sleep, I place a hand on them and pray for their growing relationship with God. I speak over them the values that I long for them to have.  Courage, compassion, justice, and mercy, to name a few.
  5. Follow your dreams. It's up to  us to model this - how can we encourage our children to pursue what  they were made to do, if we are don't  do this ourselves? We need to lead by example, showing our children that anyone of us can lead a life that is more than the status quo. 

Till next time


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