What do you value in life? Do you look at the home you purchased and think proudly of the work it took to buy it? Do you look around your home at the knick-knacks you've acquired over the years and smile at the memories of your travels where you acquired each and every trinket? Do you marvel at the expensive cars in your pristine garage and think to yourself, "I've arrived." Do you look at the license plate in the photo that reads, "All Ours," and twinge with jealousy? Do all these signs of success bring you a sense of accomplishment and self-worth? Do you see these things as the legacy you'll be passing on to your children long after you're gone?
Then consider for a moment your children. In comparison, how do you measure up. Compare the hours dedicated to the job that allowed you to buy those trinkets, travels, and cars to the hours you dedicated to the raising of your children. Did you attend to their needs as much as you tended to your cars automotive needs? Do you have momentous of their successes on your walls, knick-knacks of their accomplishments elevated above your own success or are they "stored away" in a photo book you never look at, or even worse, stored on your phone where no one can see them?
Have I gotten your attention?
Your children need your attention more than any THING you've acquired. They are either encouraged by your focus on them or they are discouraged by your lack of attention. Are you distracted by your phone when they are talking to you or do you turn off your phone and disconnect from technology while at home? I dare to say the majority of parents today have more interest in games on their computers, tablets, phones, or X-Box than they have interest in their own children. We are not raising our children anymore, the internet is. We don't teach our children morals or ethics because we are too busy following our own impulses and desires. They are experiencing abandonment even while they are surrounded by family, and they don't know if you love them or see them as a burden. No wonder they are killing themselves at an alarming rate. What a terrible place to be, together, but alone. Who is teaching your child how to live, how to act, how to believe, and how to treat others? No one. No one is supposed to teach your children these things, YOU ARE supposed to teach your children what is right, pure, and true. Without your influence they will fill the void with whatever they think is right, pure, and true, and will have nothing to counter the influences that are harming them. It's only AFTER they have fallen into addiction, into unhealthy sexual acting out, into jail that that you will grieve their choices and blame yourself that you did not made your children a priority when they were young.
"Teach children how they should live,
and they will remember it all their life."
Proverbs 22:6 (GNT)
Don't look BACK at the choices you are making today with regret. Ask your children these hard questions:
Do you think I give you enough attention?
Do you know how much I love you?
How do you know I love you?
What can I do to be a better parent?
If you don't like the answers they are giving you, don't get angry at them. You might be hearing the truth of their feelings for the first time. Validate their feelings and promise them you'll do a better job. Then do it. The lessons they may learn might increase hope in their future and decrease the regrets of yours.
Day 21: Teach