Monday, September 26, 2011

Intentional Family - Challenge Level Part II

      Do you think it is possible for a family to be over challenged or under challenged? Perhaps we expect too much of our children or plan too many activities. Or maybe we have no expectations, no plans and no vision. Children, just like us, will thrive if they are appropriately challenged. (If you’re lost on the whole challenge level thing, check out this post.) If children are over challenged, they are in danger of potential burn out and frustration. If they are under challenged, they are in a position to become bored, lazy and not living into their full potential.

      On a spectrum, there are 3 areas: Under Challenged, Appropriate Challenge Level, and Dangerously Over Challenged.




      It‘s difficult as a parent, especially as a mom, to keep everyone’s life in balance. It would be one thing if I only had to worry about myself (that’s hard enough!), But the reality is, I’m also responsible for 3 other little lives and keeping them appropriately challenged. It’s tough!
      Again, this post is NOT about doing more. It is NOT about feeling guilty because you haven’t done enough. It’s just important that we take some time to look at our kiddos individually and ask some intentional questions about their challenge level. I’m sure we can all agree that our desire is to raise healthy kids that are well rounded and that love Jesus. Sometime it’s easy to get out of wack and start to focus on other things that eat up our time and ultimately pull us away from those family values that we talked about a few weeks ago.
      Those family values come in very handy when making decisions about where to invest our time. If our children are running from soccer to dance to AWANA to play dates to karate, grabbing McDonald’s in between, is that in line with the family value “Family First”? Or if our children on the couch after school, playing video games for hours, getting into trouble because they’re bored, shuffling around with “nothing to do,” is that reflective of the family value “Work Hard”?  Whatever your family values are, use them to guide you as you help your children be appropriately challenged.

      There are a few areas of challenge to be looked at, not just after school involvement. Here are some questions to consider:
How challenged are your littles?

One thing that is really cool about having more than one child is that you get to see how different they really are and how God has not only uniquely gifted them, but also given them a unique perspective and approach to life. That is why, if you have more than one child, it is important to evaluate them individually. Just like us, children all have different appropriate challenge levels – what’s good for some is not good for others.

      One of the best gifts we can give our children is to create an environment for them where they can thrive! That environment doesn’t create itself – it takes intentional parents to make it happen. As parents, our most valuable weapon in raising our children is prayer. So pray through your family’s challenge level and ask God to make clear the appropriate level of challenge for everyone. God knows your children better than you do and he knows what is best for them – just ask him!!

Take some time to make a challenge level chart for each child. Put an “X” where you think they are currently operating. Put an “*” where you think they perform optimally. What can you do as a mom to help your child be appropriately challenged in the various areas of their lives? Do you need to help them say no to some things and cut back on their schedule? Do you need to encourage them to branch out and try something new? Ask God for wisdom and discernment.

How did you make out last week evaluating your own challenge level? What potential changes are you making? It’s important that we set a good example for our children – it starts with us being appropriately challenged!

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