Recently, I spent a day on the slopes with my son. Even though I don’t ski, it was one of the greatest days of my winter.
Here is one thing I know for sure: all of us want to be great parents to our kids. None of us wake up and say, I really hope that mess my kid up today. No, quite the opposite. We want to give our kids the best that we can, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.
How do I be a good parent, even when I do feel like it?
There are times when the pressure of work, finances or our expectations (or our spouse’s) get to be too much. We find ourselves giving our family the leftovers of our life. There are also times where our kids want to do something we don’t want to do or like to do (like skiing, for me). How do we make sure we are still intentionally involved despite how we feel?
For example, my son loves winter sports. He likes all sports. Then there is me – I love watching sports, but I don’t always enjoy playing them. Skiing is one of those things that I’ve avoided for the last decade. I tried it (I live in Colorado – I had to give it a shot a few times). I finally found out that I wasn’t really inclined to catch on. I’ve also said to my family, “I don’t like being cold, and I don’t like exercise, therefore I don’t like skiing.” It has become a good laughing point with the extended family.
But then there is my son… quite the opposite of me: Chandler loves skiing! He just loves being outside, no matter how cold it is. I didn’t want to deprive him of that, so we signed him up to ski with the cousins this year. He loved every second of it and caught on quickly. I was so proud of him.
I was not ready to put him on the ski lift without me, so I literally (in my leather-not-so-warm shoes) pushed him up the bunny hill. I then let him go and chased him down. We did this over and over, it was so much fun. A few hours later, he was off to the lift without me and therein beginning his skiing career.
So this led me to think—What am I willing to do for my kids?
Parenting is a selfless act, second only to marriage. You are laying your life down to serve others, exactly as Christ called us to do. Even if those people call you “dad” or “mom” they are still the “others” we are to serve as Christ has served us. Giving our life to Christ means that we are willing put our preferences aside to serve.
When it comes to fostering the soul of our kids, we must not be about what serves me, but to serve the Lord by serving them well. Sometimes that “serving” includes disciplining, teaching hard things, or rebuking in love. Other times that mean you go out on the ski slopes and freeze your fanny off for your kids. All the intentionality we have in parenting should come our of a heart of being like Christ.
Asking “What am I willing to do for my kids?” is not some means of putting your kids on a pedestal. Rather, it is a question that takes them off the altar of worship in our life and places Christ on it. If you are really trying to be all that Christ calls you to be as a parent, you will find that you will do much more for them than if you simply said, “I love them and would do anything for them.”
It is not your love for kids that propels you to be a good parent, rather it should be the love of God that propels you. No matter how old your kids are, this is a calling to finish what you started, and stay strong until the end. Just as Christ did for you.