Family First, without the Pedestal

Written by Sean

Topics: Sean's Blog

I took a break today after finishing about 75% of my message for Sunday morning at church.  It was 10:30am, and my girls had swim practice.  Abigail, our youngest for a few more weeks, made sure as I went out the door that she reminded me she wanted to show me her new swimming skills.  “Daddy, you’ll be there, right?”

I know I am fortunate enough to have a schedule that I set, where I can leave for 30 minutes in the day and make it up whenever I want.  I also know that “freedom” allows me to overwork far more than taking time away.  But what is more important right now in life than raising my kids?  I can always work more, make more money, or get more alone time.  These kids will be gone from my daily life in 20 years, and I won’t ever get it back.

So, I prioritize my family.  I may tell you no.  No to hanging out.  No to taking that phone call, or text message, or social media comment.  I may not be as good a friend, or son, or brother, or uncle as I once was.  I’m ok with that, whether you are or not, because simply put, I love my kids more than you. (He said what?!!!!!)

I know a lot of people today who really love their kids just like I do.  I have however noticed a big difference.  A giant, marble Roman pedestal.  That’s the thing you put your kids on while they dictate life to you.  The thing they sit on while you run around like crazy, suffering from burnout, so they can go to every possible sport, and dance, and birthday party.  It’s where they get dressed with all the new styles and kid fashion clothes they “have to have”.

I see a lot of zombie parents running around to make sure their idols, kids, have everything they need so they know they are loved.  Maybe it comes from a lack from their own childhoods, maybe it comes from a codependent need to be the best buddy.  Maybe it makes the parent feel good to trot their trophy around everywhere like a pageant kid.  I don’t really know the reasons, I just know it isn’t healthy.

An order that has worked really well for our family has been God>Spouse>Kids>Everything else.

I love God most, which in turn helps me love everyone better.  Then is my spouse.  If we’re doing good, turns out, the kids do better too.  So many people have put their marriage on the back burner because the kids need something, that they forget why they ever got married.  Yes, my kids sometimes cry when we leave for a weekend, or a dinner date (yep, I still date my wife, kid-free).  Turns out, those tears end a little while later, and I come back and it’s like we never left.  They somehow survive, when the world doesn’t revolve around them.

So I love my kids, almost as much as I love God, and my wife.  And I tell them that.  And they tell me they love God more than they love me, and it stings a little.  I like feeling the feels I get from being Superman to 3 little girls, and to being number 1.  But I want them to love God more, and I want them to know that they aren’t the moon, and we aren’t the tides.  They don’t determine which way life ebbs and flows, we do.  So my family comes first, but my kids don’t get the pedestal.

How have you struggled when it comes to idolizing (even unintentionally) your kids?

1 Comment For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. David says:

    It does sting a little. I think you have the priorities straight and more marriages could last longer with that formula. I know you love me and I don’t mind falling in category #4, after all, I used to have little kids too.

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