Intentionality… the fact of being deliberate or purposive or the determination to act in a certain way. A few synonyms for this word are purposeful, intended, knowing, and conscious. Instead of having a New Year’s resolution at the beginning of the year, I choose a word for the year. Last year my word was maintenance, and this year I chose intentionality. As I have thought more and more about this word, so many things have come to mind. I have been so convicted in certain areas, regarding this word. My days do not look the same anymore as they once did, and I don’t want that to change. I have seen the changes in my boys… for the better! I am writing this not saying that I have it figured out (at ALLLLL), but to encourage you to start with the little things, because let’s be honest those are usually the things that matter most.
Growing up I had a great example of a father who was intentional. Our interests as kids and teens became his interests, and this grew our bond to something that was so strong, words don’t really do it justice. I have a few examples to share with you. When we were young, my little sister loved “High School Musical” and my dad knew every word to every song. He would play it in his truck (even when we weren’t with him in the car). We loved the Jonas Brothers and my dad’s catch phrase was OMJ – “Oh my Jonas.” I loved sports, and my dad was always on the lookout for tickets for us to go to games. I am so thankful for all those memories! He immersed himself in our interests, this always made him the “cool dad” all while still being a real dad. My dad passed away unexpectedly six years ago, and this is one of the things that I miss most to this day… the way he was so intentional with me. I believe this is what has made his passing even more difficult, because he loved us so well. He wasn’t perfect, and he would be the first person to admit that but he loved well.
There are a few areas that I have been trying to focus on when thinking about being intentional, because it can get overwhelming! The first is encouragement, especially in what seems to be the little things. One habit I have been trying to get into is before bed, I take a few minutes to let my newly turned three year old, (he turned three on Saturday and I am not okay with this!) know how proud I am of him and I try to give him specific examples from the day.
I want my sons to know that I believe in them, that even when they make mistakes, I am still proud of them. We like to bake together during the day, and I have always cracked the eggs, but recently my oldest has been wanting to crack the eggs. I have always told him no that it’s my job, until this word of intentionality came along. I am working to be intentional on letting him know that I believe in him, that he can do hard things! He now cracks the eggs along with me, and the smile that he gets on his face is absolutely priceless. He believes in himself, I have just needed to set the table for him, and I get to sit back and watch his self-confidence grow.
Another area of intentionality that I am focusing on is preparing the atmosphere. As a stay-at-home mom who works part time, during naptime it has become very clear to me that in order for me to be intentional I need to be prepared. I usually spend the weekends, planning out our week with different EASY activities when I have a game plan, our days are much more intentional. When I plan, it is a very loose plan filled with maybe three activities for the week. The rest of our time is filled with free play – play-dough, baking, cooking (in Cameron’s kitchen and Mommy’s kitchen), playing with cars, puzzles, reading, coloring, playing outside in our new outdoor space, and more. What is my role in all of this? Setting the atmosphere and then stepping away.
My son loves play-dough right now, so I am taking the lessons that I learned from my dad and I am learning to love play-dough too. My son loves water, so I am learning to set the atmosphere for his interests to take flight. He loves to bake and cook, so I learning to get out of the way and allow him to have freedom. I pray that as my kids grow older, that they would want to have me around. I hope that I will be able to be as intentional as my dad was with me, and that my kids would know with every fiber of their being that I am for them and I believe in them. That I would live my life with intentionality.