Stepping Up With Our Kids

I’ve had some great opportunities this past year to spend all sorts of time with kids. I lived with Pernell and Margie for a summer where I got to spend it all with their three awesome kids, Samantha, Lucas and Jacob. The experiences, laughter and lessons I learned while being around them by themselves and in a family setting were invaluable. Not only did I see them all the time, I was around all the FRWY kids for the summer and learned that I didn’t dislike kids as much as I thought. There is something about the way kids interact and experience the world around them that makes me want to be around them more.

This morning Chris and I were talking about kids some more. Chris is living with Joe right now and loves having the kids around them. The honesty that comes from their lips and the simplicity of time spent with them is enough to put a smile on your face. This got us talking about how at first when we looked at kids, it was a bit intimidating. There were all sorts of reasons why I didn’t want kids. I didn’t want to put the time into it. I didn’t want to screw up. I knew that if I had kids, I would have to seriously reconsider my priorities, something that I like the way they are now. Nothing has really changed, but now I realize all the more how serious kids need to be in our lives. If I’m going to take the step eventually and have kids with Rachel, then I need to be ready to give them of myself and not cop out.

Ironically on my way home from theStory this morning there was a radio show on CBC Radio 1 about children and their parents. The guy (sorry I can’t remember his name) who was being interviewed was some guy that had his own TV show about the home and relationships or something like that. He was quite bright and he easily pointed out many of the flaws in our culture and called people on it. He says that he believes that of all the generations in history, that we neglect our children the most. We give them objects instead of ourselves. We give them TV instead of our time. He says, and I quote “we would be absolutely stupid to come home from work and put on the TV instead of spending time with your kids.” No wonder, he says, that our kids don’t want to come home and would rather be with their friends. This then makes sense why our kids are being more influenced by their friends than by their parents. We need to learn to enjoy our kids, not get rid of them.

Sometimes I watch parents, and I grieve. I grieve because they never should be parents. They care more about themselves than their kids and that’s a recipe for disaster. They end up using their kids to suit their own agendas and sacrifice their childhood. We need to take responsibility for our children (listen to me go, and I don’t plan on having any, at least for quite a while) and start living for their best interests and not our own. When you have children, your agenda should be to pour as much as yourself into them as possible, not get away from them as often as you can. Hopefully when/if I have children I’ll be ready to do what it takes to raise them well. I’ve had an awesome example with my own parents. I’m surrounded by good parents in my community. I have learned so much, especially since I’ve been back in Sarnia. God give us the strength to care more for our kids than for ourselves. God help us not put our children on the back burner and remember that they are our future. God help us remember that you want us to be like them and help us learn to appreciate and encourage them along the way.

3 Comments

  • On the one hand I totally understand your grievance with parents. On the other hand, being a stay-at-home-dad with a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. At times, it is a complete death to self, and an involuntary one as well. I used to look at the news and see parents who’ve done horrible, horrible things to their children, and say to myself, “how could they do that!” Now I understand. Now I see it as a testament to the power of love that more parents don’t do things like that to their kids, because dying to self has got to be the most difficult (and most rewarding) thing that anyone will ever do.

  • it’s good to hear non-parents think like good parents. so much truth in your post. i’m curious how you guys are handling children in your church. are there any? is there structure for them?
    i find many emergent-type ecclessial communities struggle with being kid friendly.
    and how do we re-think sunday-school? it sure needs to be re-thought, re-vamped, or maybe thrown out altogether… but then how does one bring children into the story in a meaningful way for them?
    these are all questions coming from where i’m at as a dad as i’m involved in a little church plant as well.

  • Hey Phil, we actually have quite a bit of children, I think we have about 1 child for every two adults right now, so around ten children. We are tempted to just cop-out and throw them in another room during the ‘more serious’ stuff but at the same time it doesn’t make sense at all.

    Truthfully, its been a struggle for us to find out how it we can incorporate them in the entirety of it all and so far the best we’ve done is make sure the children are learning the same things that we are walking through but at their speed. This hasn’t done it for us yet, we aren’t pleased with where we are at with them and are still struggling through it. We have parents in our community that are homeschoolers and lots of older parents who used to homeschool, so that component right there helps bring a great balance I think and some experience on how to incorporate kids in ‘every day life’ or the ‘every sunday service’ and the community life. Outside of Sunday I think we are doing well, parents aren’t getting babysitters but bringing their kids along with them which is building community within the kids relationships also which is really awesome to see, but Sunday…..any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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