Simple Ways to be an Intentional Parent


On my morning run I pass a house where often the dad, kids and their eleven-year-old yellow Labrador (I stopped to ask his age!) play on the driveway while they wait for the bus. Last year the kids rode their scooters around the driveway. Today the little girl was shooting baskets. Almost every time I run by this sweet scene I am transported back fourteen years to when Kerry was about eight years old. While we waited for the bus, Kerry played a little game with her scooter. It was sweet and clever and was an insight into her creativity and intelligence.

Unfortunately I sometimes was not as present in her game playing as I should have been. If I could have a heart-to-heart with that dad I would tell him to enjoy every moment. Last year his daughter was riding her scooter on the driveway. Now she is shooting hoops. Next year she might not even want him on the driveway while she waits for the bus. Kids transition from stage to stage in the blink of an eye. What they love today they will have no interest in tomorrow.

Only a few weeks ago our eight-month-old grandson loved playing what we call “the screaming game.” He started it with a low tone (the only sound he could make other than crying), myself or his Aunt Katie would join in as our voices grew higher and louder. He was smiling the whole time as his voice and ours rose higher and louder. He ended each “round” with a laugh and immediately started the game over. But that season lasted only a few days. No longer does he remember it. Yep, not a big deal in the whole of his life, but it is a powerful illustration of how quickly and without warning our kids change.

Treasuring each season of your child’s life doesn’t end when they become adults. Currently our middle daughter, son-in-law, and grandbaby live less than 30 minutes from us. However, our son-in-law’s job carries the possibility of a transfer in the future. Gene and I take every opportunity to be with them and help however we can. Of course we would do the same if there were no possibility of a move, but knowing they may not always be so close adds an extra sweetness to the times we are together.

The how-to for this blog is simple. If you realize your kids are ever changing and you want to make the most of each moment you have with your kids:

  • Be emotionally, mentally, and physically present when you are with your kids.
  • Put away your devices so you are not tempted to be distracted and they don’t feel you are distracted.
  • Be engaged when you are with them.
  • Listen. Listen. Listen—with your eyes and ears.
  • Realize this moment, this phase, this stage of life will never come again. Soak it in. Enjoy.

My kids’ lives go fast, and I don’t want to miss a drop of it. I want them to look back and remember that Mom was present and invested in them. Maybe too enthusiastic at times. Maybe a bit too vocal or opinionated as well. But always there with love, support, and encouragement.

Do you struggle to be “all there” when you are with your kids? What is your biggest obstacle? We are all in this process together!


Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

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