God has blessed me with four boys ages 13, 11, 9, and 3. As a pastor of a brand new church and a full time hospice chaplain, I must admit it’s very hard to find time and energy to spend with my family. Of course, I love them dearly, but some weeks are just about survival. However, I’m well aware that one day I’m going to miss these days.
I believe many moms and dads can identify with my daily struggle. You feel torn between many things and many people. You want to be there for your kids, enjoy moments together, and take time to teach them how to live life. But, life drains you dry and steals precious moments from us all. Here are some things we must remember in order to stay on track as parents.
#1 GOD GAVE THEM TO YOU
The bible tells us every child is a gift from God. Every parent has been entrusted with the responsibility of impressing upon their children the way they should go and the way they should live. This requires that each of us take parenting very serious. No, kids don’t come with instructions and no matter what you will make countless mistakes. But, it’s your God given job to raise and prepare your child for life. Don’t try to pawn this role over to anyone else, but accept this God given responsibility.
#2 NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT
Weeks ago I had a hospice patient who grew up a preacher’s kid. This guy looked at me at said, “My dad was a very good man and successful pastor of a very large church. But, he told me something that over 50 years later still hurts my feelings. He said, “Son, you need to know that my call to be a pastor comes before you and your mother. You see, its way up here and you are somewhere way down here.” I told this man with tears in my eyes, “My friend, your dad was wrong. I’m sure he meant well, but that is not what God’s word says.” Many mirror the kind of parents they grew up with, but many who have gone before us had their priorities out of order. Parenting is not just another hat you wear in this life, but should be at the top of your list. If God has blessed you with the title of mom or dad, you need to be mom or dad. I’ve said this several times and I’ll say again, if I have to choose between being a parent or a pastor, I’ll step down from the ministry tomorrow. For this season in my life, I have a clear calling from God to love and lead four boys, before I even think about helping someone else.
#3 THEY ARE ONLY YOUNG ONCE
I would argue that being a parent is one of the hardest jobs on this earth. It takes a lot of time, money, and can more than try your patience. But, those who still have kids at home need to be reminded that with every age comes opportunity. Enjoy that baby, train that child, and walk alongside that teenager. These times before us will be gone before we know it and we must seize the moments of opportunity.
#4 YOU HAVE TO MAKE TIME
My wife can testify that my phone never quits ringing and someone is always asking for my help. I could literally work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and I would still have a steady to do list. It doesn’t matter what your career or obligations, you have to make time to be with your children. You have to strive for balance and intentionally set aside family time. Otherwise, your family will never make it on your calendar.
#5 YOU’RE GONNA MISS THIS
For over a month now the ringtone on my cell phone has been Trace Akins’ hit song “You’re Gonna Miss This.” I intentionally set that as my ringtone to remind me that no matter what I find myself in the middle of day or night, my family is important. One day these boys will have grown up and these moments will have passed. And, even though there are many days that it takes all the strength I have to make time for them, it’s worth every effort and sacrifice. My friends don’t miss out on being the mom or dad that God wants you to be this season of your life.