Why I don't want my kids to have everything...

Before you read any further, I need to make this disclaimer:

I am not a perfect mom…nor am I trying to convey that I am with this blog post. 

I am a flawed mama, leaning on God’s grace that comes new each and every morning.  There are many days that I go to bed with tears feeling like a big fat failure.  There are also nights like last night that I flat crash at 8:15 because I just can’t give anymore.  I make mistakes.  I mess up.  I am just like every single other mother out there in this world.

I am far from perfect. 

But I am trying.

I am trying to lean in more to Jesus.  I am trying to hear His heart.  I am trying to parent in a way that brings Him honor.

And most of all I am trying to teach my children what it means to love God passionately and to love others with an abundance of compassion, mercy, and selflessness.

I have come a long way since my early, idealistic parenting days.  I thought I had it all together and had all the answers.  I used to think and say things like this…

“Well, if we just get them into a good schedule, then the rest will just fall into place.”

“If I start them young, then they will automatically like it when they are older.”

“If we just model everyday what we want them to do, then eventually they will start doing it too.”

“If we just read the Bible a little more together and have the kids pray more together, then they won’t fight so much.” (Ha if only that one were true!)

“If we have the capabilities to give them the best, then it is our obligation to do it.”

That last one though has continued to haunt me for years now.  I have had to really dig down deep to figure out where the line fell. It has just been so hard to know if I am obligated to give them the best, if I have the capability to do so.  I don't mean that I am obligated to give them that sucker in the checkout line just because I have the money to do so.  When I say give them "the best" I am referring to the bigger picture..like wanting to give our kids the best chance at succeeding in life.  I am not in anyway referring to spoiling your children.

Maybe you haven’t or don’t struggle with that.  But, I sure do.  I live in a third-world country.  But, so often the battle in my heart has been that I don’t want my kids to live like they are in a third-world country.  Deep down I want to give them a life like the one they would have if we lived in a first-world country.

I want them to have the best education possible.

I want them to get plenty of time for resting, playing, socializing, eating, and spending quality time with Mom and Dad.

I want them to have yummy snacks when they get home from school.

I want them to eat balanced, healthy diets.

I don’t want them exposed to “bad things”

I don’t want them to watch too much TV.

I want them to say “please” and “thank you”

I want them to be happy, healthy, and loved well.

And the list goes on…

Of course, many of these things are good things.  They are really great things actually and things I think all of us want for our kids.  We love our kids; so of course, we want to give them the best.

But, I want to challenge that mentality today.  What if we are doing our kids more harm than good by always trying to give them the best?  Because let’s face it, much of the rest of the world doesn’t have the ability to give any more even if they wanted to do give them the “best.”  What if by giving them our best always and by trying to meet each and every one of their needs, wants, hopes, dreams, desires, etc. we aren’t actually even leaving any room for them to need the Lord…to want the Lord?  What if by giving and doing and trying all the time, we aren’t giving them a world perspective? Their world becomes small and it is hard for them to even imagine kids that really have to live without?

These are questions I have been grappling with for a long while now.  I love my kids.  I love them so much.  As cliché as it sounds, I really would take a bullet for them without giving it a second thought.  I do want them to have a great education.  I do want them learn to be polite and to eat good foods and to have fun and laugh…laugh a lot.  I want them to have all that I have to give them! 

But, at the end of the day, I also want my kids to bring the Lord glory in everything they are doing too.  I want them to honor Him.  And I really want them to love like Him.  I want them to be compassionate and thoughtful.  I want them to not be afraid of what they don’t know.  I want them to see a child playing in the dirt, with maggots crawling all over him, and for them to boldly walk over and hold his hand or to offer him something to eat.  I don’t want my kids’ whole world to be nothing more than what they see and experience each day.  Even though they are young, I know that kids can be fiercely loving and protective and generous. I want to give them opportunities to do that…not just in our home or our community or in our church.  I want them to do that naturally wherever we go and wherever they are.  

So what has that meant for our family?

Well, I am no longer so focused on their education.  For a long time I felt like the only options for me were homeschooling or sending them to a private school.  But that is off my radar now. That may change in the future due to circumstances or whatever, but for now, they are going to school with all the other kids at the orphanage…where we also have many kids from the surrounding poorer area.  I know they will get a perfectly adequate education, but I am hopeful that they will get much more than that.

I make my kids eat everything.  I even purposely cook things I know they don’t like so they can have an opportunity to keep trying it AND to learn to be thankful that they even have food to eat.  I know this may sound mean, but when hundreds of thousands of children are dying of hunger, I want my kids to learn to eat everything…and to do it with a heart of gratitude.

My kids play outside…A LOT.  They go to school, but we don’t do much more in the way of formal stuff here in the house.  They play with kids in our neighborhood, at the orphanage, at the mall, at the soccer fields.  If there are kids around, I make them just go play.  PLAY!  Run around, laugh, get dirty, climb trees, etc.  The one thing that is universal for kids no matter where they live is their ability to imagine the most wonderful and innovative games outside.  Kids learn so many life skills just doing life together outside.

I am not a perfect parent.  My kids are not perfect kids.  We struggle.  We fight.  We get jealous sometimes.  We are ungrateful.  We spend too much.  We want too much.  We watch too much TV.  We eat too much junk.  We eat fast food loaded with nasty preservatives.  We get selfish.  We aren’t perfect.

But one thing we are all trying to do together is love…love hard, love strong, love passionately…and love abundantly….wherever we go, whatever we do, and with whomever we meet. 

Because really and truly what the world does need a lot more of is love.

Jami Taylor  – (January 30, 2014 at 9:57 AM)  

Sara, this is worded so well. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and for speaking so much to mine! What an awesome challenge to truly give kids a chance at everything - everything that GOD has for them. Miss you a bunch! - Jami (Lee) Taylor

Post a Comment

Total Pageviews

Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and over...so please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

  © Blogger template Shush by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP