“To be an effective parent, you must let your children know what you expect from them, and then you must be close enough to the action to be able to regularly inspect their work.” -- Zig Ziglar
Yes, Mr. Ziglar, I couldn’t agree more.
The phrase ‘inspect what you expect’ definitely drives leadership practices and business circles (Google it and see). I believe applying this concept to motherhood can reap healthy benefits as well.
Because honestly Mamas, we’re involved in a huge enterprise called HOME and FAMILY. Motherhood is no small adventure, for sure.
So, what about this idea of setting expectations and checking up on them?
Why is it so important?
It’s God’s way
From the beginning of life in the Garden, God sets the stage with his children Adam and Eve: he cared for them deeply and stayed in close relationship. He also shared clear expectations for life in their new place, and then came back to check up on them! (See Genesis 2 if you’re unfamiliar with the story.)
He does the same with us.
Motivated by unconditional love, God gives us clear understanding in Scripture of what is acceptable or not in the way we think, act, treat others, and go about our everyday lives.
Should we do any less for our own children?
Children learn they are valuable
We need healthy and reasonable expectations for our children (see note below) and then stay close enough to inspect how they are moving along -- offering encouragement and correction as needed.
This sends a clear message to our little ones (or bigger ones!) that they are important to the team of our family. Their contributions matter.
What gets noticed usually gets done. No, not always. Our children will make plenty of mistakes and need grace.
But overall, and over time, children often repeat whatever gets their parent’s attention.
Mamas, we can help by giving our children a road map of what we expect from them, and then offering loving support along the way.
A note about ‘age-appropriate’ expectations - choose with care what to expect from your children and consider their ability levels wisely. Too much or too little can be incredibly frustrating for kids (ask me how I know!). Seek out Christian resources and helps or ask your family and friends for tips -- and pray. God knows your children best.