I demolished my side view mirror backing out of the garage last Sunday… Yes, this was while someone wanted the volume of the classical station blasted and others were arguing about their seating. For those of you with kids and who want some quiet in the car, try this stunt and I guarantee that you will get the silence you crave – after the crunch of the car mirror against the garage and the final crash as it shatters to the ground, of course. It’s a wonder I didn’t take out the garage doorframe too!

After about 5 minutes of stunned silence, I did tell my children that they were not to blame and that it was my responsibility to stop and not drive in all that chaos. A good lesson for my two teen drivers who were just thankful that it was mom and not they who managed that feat! However, as I view my mangled mirror-less shell that resembles an eye-less robot from a sci-fi movie, I have been thinking about the importance of checking our figurative “side mirrors” as we go about our lives as parents.

As a parent, this often means switching my focus from my children’s many “wants” (which tend to be right in our line of vision) to things they truly “need” – focused parental discernment and accountability. Have you looked in the ‘other mirror’ lately to check for potential upcoming collisions with where you want to go as a family? Here are some questions I ask myself as I scan both “side mirrors.”

What percentage of time is my child on social media?

What are they looking at and how are they using social media?

What’s their emotional and mental barometer after being on social media?

How crucial is it that they have access to social media? Really??

Who are their friends and what is the emotional climate of these friendships?

Who are they texting and what kind of texts are they receiving?

Do they know when the communication is unhealthy?

Do they know why it is unhealthy and what to do about it?

Do they even care if it is unhealthy?

Does our family have a mission statement that gives us identity?

How much time are we spending as a family face to face each day?

How much one-on-one time have I had with my child this week?

Do I really know my child?

Do we prioritize the health of our “inside” lives as much as we do how things look on the outside?

Am I living out what I say I believe?

Is it my responsibility to make my child happy? (I hope you know that the answer is “No!”)

Is it my responsibility to expect my child to contribute to the family and greater community? (Yes!)

Let me say that this is not “helicopter parenting.” This is being a parent. Period. The hardest and most important job on earth.

Let’s not look just one way and miss what’s coming at us the other side. The costs are too high with our precious children.