The Parenting Intention

Posted on September 17, 2018

We live in a society that is focused on goal setting and achieving. Whether it is preparing our children for kindergarten, middle school, high school, or college we are on the hamster wheel to help them set and achieve goals that will propel them to the next phase of their lives. From their youngest years, we are caught up in building their “resumes” to get them prepared for success in the world.

These outward goals have their place, but in the race to achieve we often overlook the most obvious building block to their happiness and success—our relationship with them. That relationship is built through day-to-day connections. And connections are made by effective communication while we ride the waves of the celebrations and the challenges of parenting. Unless we hold this intention of building a relationship in our mind’s eye in everything that we do with and for our children, we are bound to have communication breakdowns, which create disconnections that could often be irreparable.

In her powerful book Living With Intent, Mallika Chopra, founder of, brings crystal clarity to the difference between goals and intentions. She says that a goal is the actual execution or act of doing something, while an intention is the spiritual and aspiration component of wanting to achieve something. In other words, an intention is the inner state of mind that directs the action, sets the path, the resolution, and the purpose. Originating from the Latin word intendere—to stretch towards, to aim at—an intention is the seed planted in the direction that we desire. For example, if we want to grow a rose, we plant the seeds of a rose plant not those of a sunflower. Similarly, we have to plant the seed—the intention—of what we desire in parenting our children.

We all know that building relationships is more of an inward task than an outward goal. And when it comes to our children, harnessing connections and building a relationship requires a serious inner commitment. Let’s set our parenting intention with an affirmation: “My intention is to build a respectful, sweet, meaningful, and lasting relationship with my child.”

When this intention is at the very core of every interaction with your child, it will help you stay attuned to your kids and connected with them during good times and not so good times. When you drift away, turn back to this intention, and it will pull you back and remind you to return to center. It is this seed of intention that will grow your relationship with your kids. We can now start to prepare the soil in which we’ll plant this seed.