Parenting is a never-ending voyage of discovery—raising a child teaches us who we really are, reveals our strengths and shortcomings, and challenges us to be our best selves as we struggle to be the people our children need us to be.
Parenting with the End in Mind…by Design is the perfect guide through this journey. The author, Miranda Bartholomew, tackles the subject of parenting with a bold, unapologetic spirit, sharing heartwarming personal stories, keen insight, and no-nonsense practical advice designed to help readers discover the path to successful parenting that’s right for them.
There is no one true path—or user’s manual—to being an excellent parent. The goal of Parenting with the End in Mind…by Design is to inspire readers to ponder, reflect, evaluate, and ask the right questions. It’s filled with wit, wisdom, and humor that guides readers through the sometimes treacherous, often challenging, but ultimately rewarding terrain of parenting—the most important business you will ever run.
Parenting with the End in Mind…by Design – Introduction
AS LITTLE KIDS AND then as teenagers, you and I couldn’t wait to make our own decisions and do what we wanted, whenever we wanted. Do you remember that feeling of your mom, dad, or grandmother telling you “You can’t…” and “You better not….” and “Don’t let me catch you…”? It was frustrating to have so many rules. Did you also feel as though you had the most irrational parents? Maybe you said something like, “I can’t wait to get out of the house for good!”…probably as a response to your mom or dad saying, “You can do what you want when you’re out from under my roof!” So you celebrated another birthday. You grew taller and heavier, your bones grew denser, and your voice deepened. You headed into the next chapter of your life and you started to hear the desire of your heart.
Your heart of hearts is who you were designed to be on this earth. Your heart pumps a feeling, a hunch, a hunger, a vision. As a little person, perhaps you didn’t understand what these symptoms were or how to interpret them. And then, time got away from you. Time fast forwarded and life happened to you. Your main artery of ideas and visions grew clogged and contaminated with discouragement, lack of positive reinforcement, lack of discipline, contentment, and more.
Your unexecuted and likely undiscovered destiny is buried under the stuff you’ve accumulated over the years, along with other people’s stuff (interpersonal drama, dependent friends, needy family members, other people’s insecurities, and so much more). If you didn’t realize or execute your purpose when your heart was pumping wholesome ideas, are you equipped to ensure the children you are responsible for, know how to execute their purposes?
A parent said to me once, “I wish there were a manual for parents.” Managing children’s behaviors (not to mention all the unpredictable and uncontrollable outside forces that might impact or influence your children) can be hard. I can completely understand what drove this parent’s request—wouldn’t it be great if there were a black-and-white process for parenting like there is for driving or working a machine? Perhaps that’s where some of us have gone wrong. We don’t have a process.
This book is about doing what is necessary to help increase the chances of your children living out their full potential as adults. The advice in this book is appropriate if you’re thinking about becoming a parent, are currently parenting, want or need to reevaluate your parenting style, are mentoring small children, or know someone who needs some structure to their parenting. Don’t fear, however—you do not necessarily have to deviate fully from your current parenting plan or parenting style. You might, however, have to make small adjustments here and there along your learning journey. This book will challenge what you learned in your personal upbringing, and will require you to reflect and renew your mind so that you can transform into the person you need to be, for the sake of the child you are developing.
Most would classify pushing a baby out of your loins and into the world as the beginning of parenthood. I think of this often-unbearable physical pain more as the initiation into parenthood—much like the initiation into a gang. Yes, you’re a member—but are you a full member? What traits must you successfully demonstrate to earn your lifetime membership card?
Parenting: Noun, Verb, Adjective?
Two people can create a life and be gifted with the lifelong task of parenthood. Others have not produced a child from their loins, but rather have accepted willingly or by obligation to parent a child (or children). The role of a parent is a lofty position that even the most prestigious colleges do not prepare you for. If we overlook how significant our positions are as adults and leaders to teach, and recognize that our home is the classroom, we might find ourselves sadly disappointed in the outcome of our children’s future.
Parenting is the legal and/or biological responsibility and obligation one has to teach our kids how to love, how to communicate, how to… everything. So I ask you this: Are we feeding our future adults quality how to lessons and teachings? Do you have a lesson plan (blueprint, a rough draft, a business proposal, etc.) for parenting? Consider yourself as the coach and teacher of your household. What are the life lessons that you would teach? After your children learn how to use the potty, to wash their hands (with soap!), to cover their mouths when they cough, to bless others when they sneeze, to look both ways when crossing the street, and not to interrupt adults when speaking, what life lessons will you share with them? Reading this book, you will be introduced to vital principals that you can use to inspire your own lesson plan. By the end of the book, you will have created a comprehensive lesson plan that you can use and rely on while developing the future (the children in your life).
In effort to develop the kids in our lives, we often rely on our past experiences to guide us. Most of the time, this seems to work. For many of us, our parents’ teachings (good or bad) have remained with us and we bring them to the table when raising our children. Borrowing from the past is often how we can ensure traditions continue on from our grandparents. However, I challenge you, as you complete this book, to consider the things that may be unfamiliar to you or unique to how your parents raised you. Keep in mind: there are lots of ways we deal with situations. As long as you keep in mind there is not ONE way to parent, (just like there’s not one way to teach) you will walk away with many invaluable parenting nuggets.
As you are reading through the sections of this book, ask yourself “How does this concept influence a child to become a driven and independent adult?” How does having a spiritual foundation influence a child’s (and future adult’s) outlook on life and personal decision-making abilities? How might helping them learn which foods to eat less of and which foods to consume more of help them fulfill their goals? How does being debt-free become an impactful lesson and lifestyle for a young adult? How does offering financial support help them master and realize their talents? How does all of the above increase the likelihood of living in wealth? Take a moment to visualize. Put yourself in the picture for each situation and first consider how lessons like these at a young age would have influenced you.
By the end of this book, I expect that you will have strong ideas of what your parenting manual should be. I want you to pursue your parenting and teaching with excellence—not only in the areas mentioned in the book, but also in the areas specific to you in your everyday life. My only goal is that you ponder, reflect, evaluate, and ask questions… whether or not you agree with what I have to say.
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” –Frederick Douglas
About the Author
Miranda Bartholomew is an experienced manager and career and education advisor for the University of Phoenix. She has helped countless individuals transform their lives—at school, at work, and at home with their families. Miranda has taken her professional and personal experiences, and combined her passion for developing adults and children by establishing must-have concepts for today’s parent. She runs and maintains the Our Conversations Matter website, has led several Parenting With the End in Mind workshops, is a member of the Women’s Speakers Association, Communications Chair of Y.E.S. (Young Executives for Success) in Columbus Ohio, and is available for speaking and promotional opportunities nationwide.