We recently learned that our youngest daughter is expecting a boy in December. We have two wonderful granddaughters by our oldest daughter so this will be the first grandson. Well of course I had to go walk through the baby department to see what is out there for boys. As I was browsing I heard this loud voice and I looked and there was this very tall, athletic man on a Blue-tooth talking away. He had a little 7-8 year old girl tagging behind. They were in the little girls department next to infants so I could hear and see the whole incident. Obviously dad had her out to look for things for her. Maybe mom had the little one’s at home, maybe it was his weekend … it really did not matter, it simply was not ‘her time’. The conversation went like this, “yeah man, it was like that game when the Bucs (Tampa Bay’s football team) played … you know, the year before they won the Superbowl”. OK, time reference here … the man is discussing a game circa 2001. His little girl probably was not born. I wanted to shake him and say, “look at her face … see your child … what are you doing?” I wanted to go to the little girl and tell her to pull up Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s In The Cradle” and play it for her dad.
Where is your focus? Children know when they are not getting your best. God’s word says in Matthew chapter 6, that He loves us and cares for us. He knows our every need and want and He takes care of us. As Christians we are to mirror God’s parenting as we parent our children. I do not see God with a cell phone in His hand, watching His favorite TV show, or reading a book. He is not out playing some sports game, or going to some event at our expense. Our children get their value of themselves from us. We tell them by our actions how valuable they are. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing things for yourself as long it is not at your child’s expense. No matter if you chose to be a parent at this time or not, you are the parent. The child comes first.
I remember growing up watching a relative with their kids and comparing them to my parents in my head. If there was a cake to be divided that parent would always make sure they got a piece, the biggest piece. Yet if there was dessert on our table, my mom (who LOVED dessert and would eat it at the beginning of the meal if she could) always made sure we got some and then if any was left she had some. One time my dad gave mom the money to go buy herself a new coat, TWICE. After she returned from the store twice with things for all her five children, the third time dad drove her to the store and stayed until she bought herself a coat. She taught us how valuable we were. It was not just ‘things’ either. She spent time on her knees for us; she made our favorite foods; she went to the school events; was PTA and band booster presidents. She invested her life in us. She was a mom first, and “Gwen” … well, after all others’ needs were met.
My goal was to grow up to be a mom like her and to raise children that felt loved and valued and then they would pass it on to the next generation. Throughout the Old Testament (like in Leviticus and I Samuel) there are stories told of ‘sins of the fathers’ being passed on to generations. Basically, this means sin begets sin. A drunk raises drunks; a thief raises a thief, a liar a liar … an adulterer raises an adulterer; and an inattentive and unloving parent raises another generation of inattentive and unloving parent. The cycle stops when someone in the chain makes a conscious decision to repent of the pattern of sin in their family and chooses to move forward in God’s strength leaving the past sins of the father’s behind. Then and only then, will God heal the family.
Leviticus 26:39-43 (New International Version) 39 Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their fathers’ sins they will waste away. 40 ” ‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers—their treachery against me and their hostility toward me, 41 which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees.