Sunday, January 15, 2012

Living Out Your Influence: At Home

By Elisabeth K. Corcoran

I’ve got forty-four months. Do you know how fast forty-four months will go? I can clearly remember what I was doing in my life forty-four months ago, so I know it will speed by.

What happens in forty-four months?, you ask.

In forty-four months my daughter will start college. My teaching and training days are winding down. Most of my parenting is behind me. And yet, I realized, there is still so much I want to teach her and my son (one year younger). I still have an influence over them, even though I see it daily shifting away from me to their friends and the culture and school (as is normal for their ages).

But while I’ve got them under my roof and while my opinion still counts for something – even if being lorded over a captive audience at times – I am choosing intentionality. I am choosing not to settle for the fact that they seem like good kids so I can just skate through the next few years.

I brainstormed a list of topics that I want my kids to know about before they head out into this big world on their own. Everything from how to clean a bathroom and iron a shirt to how to know your spiritual gifts and interview for a job. I’m also throwing in some weightier issues like how to apologize, how to know when you need to ask for help, how to know when you should break up and how to get through it if you do.

Our first randomly-chosen-out-of-a-cup topic for this coming month is “the importance of a church family” in your life. I’ve already begun shaping how I’m going to share this with them. I’ve already asked friends for feedback. I’ve already asked the Spirit to teach my kids through me.

They may resist. They may roll their eyes. They may even ask if they can be excused before I’m finished (I’ll say no). But I think I’m seeing that I’m doing this as much for me as I am for them. Yes, I want my children as equipped as possible for the harshness of life. And yes, I need to relearn some of these lessons. But I also need to remember that I have a voice, that my opinions and thoughts and experiences matter, not just in the world, but within the four walls of my own home. And I’ve got forty-four months to do it.

Elisabeth Corcoran is the author of At the Corner of Broken & Love: Where God Meets Us in the Everyday (Westbow), One Girl, Third World: One Woman’s Journey into Social Justice (Kindle, Amazon), He Is Just That Into You: Stories of a Faithful God who Pursues, Engages, and Has No Fear of Commitment (WinePress), In Search of Calm: Renewal for a Mother’s Heart (Xulon), and Calm in My Chaos: Encouragement for a Mom’s Weary Soul (Kregel). All these books can be purchased on in paperback or Kindle. She is a proud member of the Redbud Writers’ Guild. Visit her at


  1. What you're doing is important, very important. I made a book of things I wanted them to know how to if they didn't have me anymore. My husband thought it was morbid but I want my kids to know how do everything they have to do to survive when they leave. The book I made up for them was made up of physical things like recipes, how to clean a bathroom, washing clothes, but the spiritual lessons are woven in them and I try to teach as we go along. But it won't happen unless I am intentional. So I too have choose to be intentional daily with my kids. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Thank-you for your reminder to "choose intentionality". My eldest daughter leaves for college in just 10 months, but you have encouraged me to make those months count