Becoming An Intentional Parent

May 18, 2012

Faith At Home, Time

It happened years ago but I still remember it today with crystal clarity.  We were at the pool enjoying a warm summer day.  Jacob, who is my son on the moderate end of the autism spectrum, was joyfully walking around the edge of the pool holding a small plastic ball in his hands.  I turned to grab some sun tan lotion.  It was only for a couple of seconds that I had my back to the pool.  Only seconds.  And I heard it:


It only took me three strides to reach the pool, dive in, and snag Jacob by his shirt, pulling him from the water.  Apparently Jacob had accidentally dropped his ball in the water, reached for it, and as a result fell into the water.  Jacob would have drowned in a matter of minutes because he did not know how to swim.

That day I decided to become intentional about making sure he knew how to swim.  His life might depend on it.

Swimming lessons became important to Jacob  in order to help him gradually become more and more safe in the water.  It took some effort to find someone who taught kids with special needs.  And yes, it was a hassle for us to have to take the time to drive him to the lessons.  In addition, it was a financial sacrifice for us due to the cost of the lessons.

But the result was worth it:  he learned how to swim!  

And so it is with the development of faith with our children.  Without teaching them the foundations of our faith, we’re leaving it up to them to figure how “swim” through life.  As parents of children with special needs we cannot toss our kids into the deep end of the pool of life and expect them to know how to swim.  We cannot count on the them knowing how to paddle to the side safely when the waters of life become turbulent.

Conclusion: I need to become just as intentional about my son’s faith.

If I’m going to be totally honest and open with you then I have to admit that I’ve done a poor job at being intentional at developing Jacob’s faith.  I could give you some excuses:  life feels overwhelming at times, parenting a child with special needs is tiring, perhaps because of his intellectual disabilities he may not be able to understand everything about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus.  But that’s all they are:  excuses.

I elimated any and all excuses to ensure that my son learned how to swim because I was concerned for his physical well being.  Shouldn’t I be just as intentional about eliminating any and all excuses when it comes to his spiritual well being?  The answer, of course, is “yes.”

I love the reminder that Michelle Anthony shares from her book, Spiritual Parenting:

“Parents are, by the power of God’s Spirit, to depend on God in order to create home environments that God can use to beckon our kids to Him.  Isn’t it time to embrace this simple but revolutionary concept?” 

During April I blogged about an “Aha” moment that I’ve recently had.  It’s about the relationship between parenting kids with special needs and faith.  Simply said, I’ve decided to start talkin’ the talk!  In June, I intend to start blogging about my faith at home journey.  Stated another way:

I’m going to start walkin’ the walk.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey of discovering how to be a more intentional parent.  I’ll need all the support I can get! In addition, I’ll be providing some ideas and resources specifically for special needs children along the way!

If you’re interested in joining me, then either subscribe to this blog or click “like” on our Special Friends Ministry facebook page so that you can be notified when new posts are published.  Michael Woods

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About Michael Woods

Christ-follower, husband, chocoholic, and peanut-butter lover! I'm a father to triplet boys...each on the autism spectrum.

View all posts by Michael Woods


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2 Comments on “Becoming An Intentional Parent”

  1. Doug Goddard Says:

    Great thoughts Mike. There are so many things pulling us i different directions but staying true to the foundational priorities in our lives is key. It’s kind of like swiomming up stream at times though!


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