The following post is an excerpt from “Parenting Beyond Your Capacity“. Used with permission.

I recently sat down to summarize a few truths I want to remember about parenting, just so I could stay focused. I’m not suggesting this is a comprehensive list. It is just my own list of parenting priorities:

• What matters more than anything is that my kids have an authentic relationship with God.

• My wife and I are not the only adult influences my children need.

• My children need to know I will never stop fighting for a right relationship with them.

• My relationship with God and with my wife affects my children more than I realize.

• Just being together can never substitute for interacting together in a meaningful way.

After I wrote these phrases, I realized a common thread ties them together: the value of relationships. Sometimes, we forget the essence of parenting is really about nurturing critical connections that affect every child’s future.

At this time in my life, all four of my children are moving through their college years and into adulthood. As I review the past and look forward to what’s ahead, I’m amazed how these statements have transcended every season of our experience together. I wish I had written them down twenty years ago. It is just too easy to get preoccupied with trying to be a model parent and forget the real purpose of parenting.

As your kids start a new school year and before you get completely wrapped up in all the new activities, take a few moments to think about what your parenting priorities are. Your time is limited, your influence is great. How will you stay focused?