Reaching The “Parent” Finish Line.

I was looking at my Twitter feed, yesterday, when Show Hope tweeted this great quote from Dr. Karyn Purvis

“I’m not looking to get kids to their 18th birthday…I’m looking to change the next 4 generations by bringing deep healing!”

She is the director of The Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. She is also the author of The Connected Child and leads a multi-site conference called Empowered To Connect. It’s a fantastic conference. I believe all parents, especially those who have adopted children from difficult places, should attend. It’s that good!

What she said resonated with me so much because, as parents, we all hope, wish, and even pray that our children make it to adulthood, and do so as healthy, productive, responsible human beings.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Be honest- when your children entered your world (either by birth or adoption), you didn’t say to yourself- “I really hope I do everything in my power to screw this kid up by the time they are 18.”

Absolutely not! That would be crazy, right?

If you were anything like me, as a brand new parent you were probably saying something to yourself like, “Dear Lord Jesus, merciful God in heaven, creator of all good things, please..please..PLEASE….I beg You…show me how to not completely and totally mess this kid up royally by the time they reach adulthood!”

We dreamed, we hoped, we even prayed. We did so because our goal was to see our children grow into healthy, productive, moral, integrity-filled adults some day. Even now, we dream of attending their graduation, standing up and screaming when their name is called, and later hosting a killer graduation bash with all of their friends and most of ours.

But the finish line is greater than our dreams. It reaches far beyond their 18th birthday, their graduation, or even that dreaded drive to a college campus to drop them off for their freshman year.

The reason Dr. Purvis’s quote is so powerful is this- the finish line you and I need to set our sites on reaches far into the future, long past their 18th birthday, and long after our lives have ended on this spinning planet. The goal we have for our children must not simply be to get them to age 18, or their first day of college, or the work force, alive and inhaling oxygen. It must be to raise them in such a way that our influence over their lives impacts the next generation, and the generation after that, and the generation after that.

The reason I have to stick to my guns now, when my daughter is 10 years old and I’m trying to teach her what it means to live with integrity, is that it will help her grow into an adult who lives with integrity. And that will directly impact her children, and her children’s children, and the children they raise. Make sense?

The reason I tell my son to treat others with love and respect, is that I want him to grow up with a compassionate and loving view of all people. Then, when he raises his children, he will teach them to love people and treat them with compassion. He will instill respect in them. Long after I’m dead and gone, a generation will love others because my son was raised to be compassionate and love others.

The reason I hug my kids tightly when they are falling apart is that I want to bring healing for my children and generations beyond my years.

This is extremely hard. Why? Because on the dark days, when you and I are at our wits end and we feel like giving up, we’re just hoping for one more day into the future. We’re not thinking about 50 years into the future! That’s why we need each other. That’s why we need to print out Dr. Purvis’s quote and hang it on our bathroom mirror where we’ll see it and read it everyday.

The finish line is in sight. If we put in the hard work, and stay committed, the dividends will pay off for generations to come.

Question: Do you struggle with this? How so? Comment now and join the conversation.


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