Kids need concrete parent involvement.
As much as we might try to convince ourselves, our kids have a real hard time accepting our good intentions and empty promises. Kids only count our actions. Don't miss this just because you have teenagers; underneath all that teenage drama and attitude is a deep longing for Mom or Dad to be involved. Actions may look differently over the years, but the fact remains, kids want concrete parental involvement.
I want to encourage you to think of your family, specifically your parenting, not as the backdrop of your life but the center piece or hub from which the rest of your life branches out. When career, hobbies or even church activities become the hub of your life, your kids begin to develop resentment toward you.
Families feel like relatively permanent fixtures in our lives. It's easy to view them as doing "ok", giving us a sense of freedom to devote greater attention to other things. The reality is, our families are not static fixtures. Our families are constantly changing; therefore, demanding constant attention if you want any hope of keeping up.
Many of the other opportunities that come up in our lives are obviously less of a priority compared to our families; however, we justify high levels of energy and time to these because we know it's temporary and "surely it will only be for a little while." It is this type of thinking that causes us to compromise or neglect the higher priorities of family, marriage and even our relationship with God. Unfortunately, what we once thought would be a short term commitment seems to grow and grow. Now months and even years later we are seeing the effect it has especially on our kids.
Get radical. When it comes to priorities, I am usually a proponent of getting radical! You have 7000Days to parent your kids from "crib to college." Don't miss this opportunity. Decide what the optimal approach looks like to prioritizing your family. So often we ask the wrong question. We ask, "What is the minimum time my kids need from me?" Try this instead, "What is the maximum involvement I can give my kids and still be responsible to all other true priorities?" Kids are very understanding of interruptions and unexpected or uncontrollable conflicts with work or a board meeting or a church obligation. The problem is when the exception becomes the rule. That's when our good intentions and promises lose all credibility.
I have noticed this struggle in my own life, especially at the end of a long day when my kids so badly want me to take them outside to play. I feel exhausted and just want to sit for a while. It is in that moment that my thoughts of being a great dad don't count with my kids. They want my involvement, off the couch, away from my phone, with NO TV. Our kids need action-oriented parents...for 7000Days.
Take a few minutes and ask yourself, "What action do each of my children need from me during this stage in their lives?"
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