Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Sidelines vs The Game

Our journey with parenting is a bit different than most. Because of it's current part-time nature, it means our moments with Allie are that much more important than the average, every day parent. We only have so much time and so we've gotta make it really count. It's driven us to make the most of our family time and really be physically and emotionally present. In doing so, I've realized that this approach to parenting is rare and getting rarer as our technology addictions and habitual selfishness grow into dysfunctional behaviors that push us away from real relationships with depth and meaning. I've noticed that for a lot of families, as children grow old enough to be more independent, their parents choose to sit on the sidelines, watching their children's lives or even just co-existing, instead of really getting involved in their lives.

Why don't more parents play with their children?
Why don't more parents dream and create with their children?
Why don't more parents engage emotionally and spiritually with their children?
Why is that?!!
Is it laziness? Lack of interest? Not on the to-do list?

No matter what the reason, it is a shame. Your kids need to see you play and have fun, dream and be silly, imagine and create. And if you are the type of parent that wants your kid to involve you in the bigger questions and decisions in life when they are older, I think you've gotta be involved in the small things when they are younger. After all, does the baseball player who has sat on the sidelines in the dugout the whole season get called in for the final play of the big game? (No, they don't.)

And I'm not trying to imply that Zach and I are perfect parents and have it all figured out. Trust me, we feel the tension of our schedules and work and entertainment and social media and on and on. But that doesn't stop us from having costume dinner parties, and being silly, going to spontaneous late night movies, and having impromptu dance parties, and P Days, and swimming together at the Y, and family devos, and even dressing up in 80s clothes and going roller skating with the student ministry. We aren't just making memories with Allie for the sake of memories. We're doing it so that she can watch us live our life and face challenges and have adventures and rely on Christ through it all so that she can do the same when she's on her own one day. We're doing it so we have active stats and she's seen us play inning after inning after inning so that she wants us on her team when it's time for her big game.

So are you sitting on the sidelines or playing in the game? Forget the past. What you do today, tomorrow, and every day after can make all the difference in the life of your child and your relationship with them.

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