Moms and Dads are taking a beating in the media these days. Dubbed “helicopter parents” for hovering over their little ones and being over-protective, they’ve also been called “lawnmower parents” for trying to clear their teen’s lives of adversity or struggle, and most recently named “snowplow parents,” for attempting to clear the path for their children’s futures with money and connections.
But in his first book, Your Child’s Journey: A Guide to Intentional Parenting from Birth to Adulthood, Dr. Jay Austin proposes a parenting plan that will help children mature and will provide a launching pad to adulthood and personal responsibility. He notes that parents have an imperative to guide their children to become independent and form values, and offers a plan that teaches, coaches, and counsels, but doesn’t control.
The strategy is founded on Proverbs 22:6, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it,” and involves surrounding children with mentors who are able to multiply the positive impact on their lives—peers, grandparents, and influencers who are continually speaking life and direction into children’s lives. Along the way, there are markers for the children that celebrate where they have been, and challenge them to continue in the maturing process, equipping them to do the same for future generations.
Your Child’s Journey provides what Austin says are extremely practical and tangible ways to instill important virtues and prepare them for each phase of development—childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. This is done by:
• Giving parents a roadmap to follow;
• Giving parents assurance that they are being proactive in preparing their child to mature and take on personal responsibility for their own lives;
• Giving children the confidence to take action to live out God’s purposes in their lives; and
• Giving children a clear launching pad to adulthood and personal responsibility.
“I began developing this plan out of our own need as parents when Isaiah, my oldest, was seven. I called it ‘Journey to Manhood,’ and we built a community of support and accountability for both of our children, with mentors and clear markers that would help us intentionally teach specific virtues at different stages of their lives,” says Austin. “At their first ‘Journey Event,’ our boys were profoundly impacted as each ‘Journey Guide’ shared wisdom and affirming words with them.
“We knew we were involved in something great, when at age 18, Isaiah invited a large group of mentors to a special ‘Journey Event,’ where he spent more than a half-hour speaking blessings over them, and sharing the impact that each of them has had in his life and in the lives of others.”
As Austin and his wife, Melissa, were witnessing how this plan was impacting their own children, he began to consider how to encourage and equip parents in developing a plan of their own. As a result, he penned Your Child’s Journey: A Guide to Intentional Parenting from Birth to Adulthood ((ISBN 9781796386240; $14.99), specifically to empower parents to create an intentional and practical plan through the use of Journey Events and virtue teachings.
With credentials that include a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master’s in Christian Education, and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity, as well as being a Certified Professional Life Coach and a Certified Youth, Parent and Family Coach, Austin’s most important titles are that of husband, and father to two boys, Isaiah and Josh. As an ordained minister, he’s served churches in various roles over twenty-six years, but his primary role as a dad is what ultimately inspired Your Child’s Journey.
“I really think that most parents are unprepared for their first child, and believe they have to be a perfect parent. The result is a lot of stress and failed expectations, when the truth is that no parent is ever going to be perfect, and that stress can become destructive to the well-being and future of both parents and children,” says Austin. “As we walked through our own plan, we discovered that, even if everything didn’t go the way we expected, we didn’t lose sight of our most important role as parents—to help our boys see who God has made them to be, and encourage them to seek His best for their lives.”
(SOURCE: Christian Life Coaching via Christian Newswire)