May 202013 9 Responses

One Thing We must Teach our Kids

“I love you, but I don’t worship you.”

This is a message for my children.

It’s not the only message I want to communicate. I hope they learn to:

  • eat their vegetables (do as your mother does, not as I do),
  • write in cursive (write as your mother writes, not as I write),
  • cheer for the proper sports teams (don’t pay attention to your mother, it’s Arkansas over Oklahoma in this house).

I want to be a great Dad to my children, but I also want them to clearly understand—my love is a sign of my love, not a sign of my worship.

We live in a culture where the proper love of children has given way to the worship of children.

Don’t believe me? Consider this:

  • When was the last time your child’s sports schedule took a backseat to your marriage?
  • When was the last time your child missed out on something because of your family’s commitment to church or faith?
  • When was the last time your child didn’t get something which their friends have because you are protecting them from a culture of materialism?

Or this:

  • What determined how you spent your time this past weekend?
  • What determines how you will spend your time after work this week?
  • What will determine how you spend your time next weekend?

Far too often, children are not a single member of a functioning family, they are the ruling authority over that family’s time, energy, and resources. It is unfair to the family and unfair to the children.

I’ll never forget when my wife and I came home for winter break during my first year of graduate school. When we arrived at her house, her father was not there. I was shocked. I had assumed he would be waiting for us having rearranged his entire schedule based on our visit. He had not. He would see us, but the time we had scheduled to arrive conflicted with another responsibility. His schedule would bend for us, but it would not break solely based on our time frame.

What originally offended me eventually gained my respect.

There is no question of my father-in-law’s love for his daughter. She has never doubted her father’s love. Yet at the same time, she was not the centerpiece of his life. She was one major aspect of his life, but she was not his everything. God, his wife, his other children, and himself all played into the picture. My wife was (and is) loved, but she wasn’t worshiped.

One of the great questions in my mind as my kids move from preschoolers to elementary children is how do I communicate my love for them without miscommunicating a worship of them?

How can I help them engage in activities without allowing those activities to dictate our lives?

How can I help them pursue their dreams without becoming enmeshed in their lives?

How can I help them as individuals without hurting all of us as a family?

I don’t have many answers to these questions, but I do know they are worth asking. I do know that kids don’t deserve the pressure of being worshiped by their parents. I do know it is a subtle line to cross from loving our kids to worshipping them.

“He loved me, but he didn’t worship me,” would be a wonderful tribute for my kids to say about me. It would show my priorities were right. It would reveal I treated them properly.

What is one way you love your kids without worshipping them?


9 Responses to One Thing We must Teach our Kids
  1. […] Parenting is complicated. There are many demands placed up us. But the primary role of a father or...
  2. […] And it begins with one step—we boldly celebrate good dads. We don’t mock them, downplay them...

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