We all love our kids. We make sacrifices for them all the time.
But have we gone too far? Is it possible we are sacrificing TOO much for them? Are your gas tank and your emotional tank near empty, because you’re pouring yourself out day after day?
I’ve been in Texas for over two years now. I’m not sure if this is a Texas thing, a suburb thing, or an American thing, but my observation is that many parents’ lives (aside from work) almost completely revolve around their kids’ activities.
Ponder this with me: which is more important for your kids’ ultimate growth: more busyness and activities? Or healthy parents who are engaged in meaningful community? There are plenty of studies showing kids’ anxiety rates are through the roof. I suspect they need less hustle and bustle with activities and more relaxed time at home with a healthy you.
It’s not just time at home though. Parents, you need a life! Do you have meaningful friendships? Do you get date nights with your spouse? Or are you solely devoted to your kids having friendships and fun experiences? Sometimes you need to tell your kids, “Sorry, we are prioritizing our church small group over a second activity for you.” Why? Because you need small group. You need friends and connections, and not necessarily the parents of your kids’ friends. You need community!
We recently looked at 2 Peter 1:1-15 in church, where Peter calls us as believers to “make every effort” toward growing in Godly character. God wants us to pursue gospel fruit like love, knowledge, and self-control. Are you growing in those qualities? Do you even have time to pray and spend time with God? You need a spiritual life. Your kids need you pouring out to them from a full cup, not an empty one.
Here are some ideas for you:
· Guard one night per week as family time. NO PHONES ALLOWED. Just fun, intentional hangout time together.
· Prioritize church. What are you telling your kids about their faith and your faith that you often miss church for their activities? Gathering for church weekly is the rhythm God gave us to rest and focus on him together in community.
· Prioritize your friendships, at least a little bit! A church small group is a great place for this. Invite YOUR friends over sometimes, not just THEIR friends.
· One activity per kid per season. This helps them and you have some balance.
· Plan some seasons that have no activities, even if it’s just a month or two. You can have a rhythm of a busy season of games and tournaments, followed by a slowdown. They don’t have to be in a sport or activity 12 months/year!
Parents, get a life! God wants you to have a spiritual life, emotional life, and community life that isn’t all about your kids. You are free to say no to some of your kids’ wishes for activities. It may be the biggest blessing for them in the long run!