Back to the Future

a peek into a leadership perspective

I was in college when the movie “Back to the Future” hit the theaters. The movie was about a young man who is sent back in time, where his actions could potentially ruin his future. He has to find a way to fix his past so that the future he wanted would actually happen. Through all kinds of crazy events, he finds a way to manage his past, to get the future he desired.

There’s something to be learned from this when it comes to parenting our children.

Oftentimes, we parent our children based on the “here and now”. We bark out orders like, “Get your finger out of the your nose! Stop making such a mess! Be quiet! Go take your bath! Get in here right now and finish your homework!” all in an effort to bring quick resolve to the issues at hand. We parent for the “now”, without even considering the future.

But what if we parented the other way around? What if we sat down with our spouse and asked this simple question: WHAT KIND OF ADULT DO WE WANT OUR CHILDREN TO BECOME? What if we then began to parent our children now for what what we desire of them in the future?

The best practice is to parent our children not for who they are right now, but rather who we want them to become.

For example, if I want my child to make good decisions, I not only have to teach them how to do that, but I have to give them age-appropriate opportunities to practice making good decisions while under my supervision. I also have to include them in watching how I make my decisions. This gives them a peek into how good decisions are made. By instruction, invitation, and immersion, I am parenting my child futuristically for what he will become.

If I want my child to be kind, I will instruct my child about what the Bible says kindness looks like. I will talk to them about the kindness of God, the parables that teach kindness. I would then model kindness before them in the way I live my life. And, I would provide opportunities for my child to be kind. Again, instruction, invitation, and immersion. Getting the idea?

We parent our children best through instruction, invitation, and immersion.

This is how Jesus led His disciples. He instructed His disciples as to what kind of person they were to be through the Beatitudes and Similitudes. He then invited them to follow Him around and watch Him put those teachings into practice. Then, He gave them opportunity to put what they learned and saw into practice. He knew that He would soon be gone and they would need to carry on His mission in the future. He is discipling us this way, even now, for what is to come.

The best leaders do the same. They look at their companies or ministry, and lead their employees and teams through instruction, invitation, and immersion.

So may you be encouraged today to ask this valuable question:

As parents: WHAT KIND OF ADULT DO WE WANT OUR CHILDREN TO BECOME?

As disciplers: WHAT KIND OF CHRIST FOLLOWERS DO I WANT MY FRIENDS TO BECOME?

As leaders: WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE DO I WANT MY BUSINESS OR MINISTRY TO DEVELOP?

This futuristic perspective in parents, disciplers, and leaders can give greater clarity, purpose and vision for what you do in the now, vastly effecting what is to come.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “Back to the Future

  1. What a great post! I often forget this as we go throughout our day schooling and completing errands and tasks. Then I will hear my children say something I consider insensitive or task-oriented and wonder where they got it from. Uh, me? So what a great reminder to approach each day with these three questions of parenting, discipling and leading to align the focus for today. My prayer is that I may decrease so He may increase and others would see Him in me.

    • Thanks, Aimee! It’s hard to think about working backwards, but to know where you want to go and then working backwards to develop “checkpoints” along the way to measure growth is paramount in so many areas: work, finances, etc. and definitely works in parenting too! This lends itself for great discussion as parents seek to get on the same page in their parenting! hope it helps folks!

  2. This is so good. I’m a practical lists kind of gal so these 3 I’s – Instruction, Invitation, Immersion are something I can daily latch onto to help me parent this way. It’s so easy just to instruct or discipline for the moment – to get it done quickly and easily – But you are so right – Our children will all to soon be young adults – faced with making their own choices. Praying that I can grow in parenting for the future!

    • The three “I’s” are a great checklist to remind yourself during the day! To know that God has given us children to nurture and help fashion into Christ followers who exhibit Him with their lives is a tall task, but to think He gave them to us and therefore trusts us with them is amazing! In this, we can truly parent confidently knowing that He will fill in the gaps with His grace!