Chasing your children podcast notes
We are at different places in life so this looks different for all of us. A couple years ago I asked Lesley to write down what chasing children looked like. Here is her list and my list.
Lesley- We’re chasing the child who’s chasing the other child with a stick
Jack- We’re chasing the son who’s chasing the girl with a skirt
Jack: We enabled find my phone on their iPhone so we can track of their whereabouts
Lesley: We are consider chipping our child so we can track of their whereabouts
Lesley: We chase the child around the house who got the cap off the sharpie
Jack: We chase the child around the house who got the cap off the bud light (We don’t really, I just thought that was funny)
Lesley: We chase after money to provide extra curricular activities for our kids
Jack: We chase truck loads of money to get our kids through college
Lesley: We chase time alone…to be able to go to the bathroom or shower without a child standing next to you
Jack: We start chasing time with our kids who would rather be with their friends than us, that is, until they need money.
Jack: Our kids think we’re uncool so we start chasing cool.
When I think I’ve found something cool you say to your kid “this is cool, right?” To which your child responds, “Dad,no one says cool anymore”
Lesley: We don’t have time for cool anymore. Cool hair, cool clothes, cool makeup. I’m lucky to find a shirt without spit up on it.
Lesley: We chase sleep. But we never get it. We always have one screaming one throwing up or one trying to get in bed with us.
Jack: We chase sleep too. Can’t sleep until they get home. I don’t want to depress you but you’re sleeping days are over
Lesley: We are always chasing children to change their diapers. I’m thinking, why would you want to run away from us with that in your diaper. I should be running away from you.
Jack: We are chasing a relationship with our kids so we can stay close so that someday they will change our diapers.
Lesley: We are chasing our kids to try to get them to clean their room and put their clothes away.
Jack: We are chasing our kids to try to get them to clean their room and put their clothes away.
Lesley: We are chasing children down from ridiculously high, dangerous places, like countertops, the banister of the staircase, and high crevices in the garage. For some reason my kids know how to independently scale the walls of the house but they can’t figure out how to flush the toilet after going to the bathroom.
Jack: You think that’s scary, we teach our kids to drive. We are trying to keep them from a high speed chase.
Would you say that from what you see of parents in your generation, how important are their kids. Are they the most important part of their life?
Of all the things that we chase our children are the most worthy, wouldn’t you say. This is the most noble cause of all the areas of life that we chase. Surely God is okay with this. Surely Jesus thinks we are doing a good job by putting little Johnny first. I wouldn’t be too sure about that.
Jesus said this Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. Matthew 19:27-30
Wow, that’s a pretty hard verse isn’t it. Is Jesus telling us to abandon our children?
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:25-27
Jesus takes it up a notch, doesn’t he. He doesn’t just want us to abandon our kids, he’s okay with us hating them. Based on these verses, you might assume that Jesus has high school kids.
It’s pretty clear that he doesn’t want the chase for our children to be at the top of our priority list.
What He is saying is this. Put me first. Seek me first. I want to be at the top of your priorities. In fact, I want to be so high on you list that, in comparison to me, you hate everyone else.
Let’s get some perspective on chasing our kids today.
1) If you want to stop chasing your children, make sure you have the right priorities.
Timothy Keller tells the story of a woman who put chasing kids at the top of her priorities.
Anna wanted desperately to have children. It was the focus of her life even before she was married. She eventually married, and contrary to the expectations of her doctors, was able to bear two healthy children despite her age. But her dreams did not come true. Her overpowering drive to give her children a perfect life made it impossible to actually enjoy them. Her overprotectiveness, fears and anxieties, and her need to control every detail of her children’s lives made the family miserable. Anna’s oldest child did poorly in school and showed signs of serious emotional problems. The youngest child was filled with anger. There is a good chance that her drive to give her children wonderful lives will actually be the thing that ruins them. Getting her hearts deepest desire may end up being the worst thing that has ever happened to her.
God has a better plan for us than making our lives about our kids.
Psalm 112:1-3 Blessed are those who fear the Lord,who find great delight in his commands. Their children will be mighty in the land;the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in their houses,and their righteousness endures forever.
Jeremiah 32:38-39 They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them.
2) When we are always chasing our singular message to our kids is “hurry up”
David Elkind in the book The Unhurried Child puts it like this.
The irony is that no one believes in hurrying children. No parent, educator, or legislator I ever spoke to believes in pressuring children to do things well beyond what they are capable of doing. . “I don’t believe in hurrying children but,” And there is always a but. A parent says, “I don’t believe in hurrying but if I don’t put my child in soccer, he will have no one to play with and won’t make the team. And the educator says I don’t believe in hurrying but the curriculum says I have to teach reading in kindergarten. The legislator says she does not believe in hurrying but that is what her constituents want. If we want healthy, happy children who can compete in an increasingly global economy we have to get beyond the But. We have to use what we know about healthy childrearing and education.
Where does this “Hurry up” attitude comes from?
It might be from what other people are doing. When you raise a child in our community, you hear statements like this.
What is your kid doing?
What are all the other children involved in?
When are you putting him into preschool? What preschool?
Where is your kid going?
What does it take to get in the Harvard track?
What test scores are they getting in Japan?
Maybe you don’t care about what other people are doing. Maybe you are simply looking back at your life thinking, “If I could go back, I’d do life differently.”
One of the reason why we chase success for our kids is we are chasing it ourselves. What does the chase look like in your life
Here’s Jesus thoughts“Come to me all you are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart.”
10 ways we can prevent our kids from chasing culture
1) Keep’em young… slowdown the exposure. Hold back on sleepovers, party buses, music, movies, books, clothes, video games, phones
2) Don’t let them date until they are 16
3) Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in everyone else’s fear about college.
4) Allow your kids to play sports not compete in sports
“I sure love watching you play.”
5) Eat family dinners together.
Dr. Anne K. Fishel co-founder of The Family Dinner Project and a clinical psychologist, put it like this.Recent studies link regular family dinners with many behaviors that parents pray for: lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression, as well as higher grade-point averages and self-esteem. Studies also indicate that dinner conversation is a more potent vocabulary-booster than reading, and the stories told around the kitchen table help our children build resilience and also lower the rates of obesity and eating disorders in children and adolescents. What else can families do that takes only about an hour a day and packs such a punch?
6) Mandatory Family Nights. These become a night where all technology is turned off, plan, make and clean up dinner together, play games and finish with family devotional.
7) Take them out once a year to buy a devotional book
8) Slow down.
9) Get involved in Gods work in the world and take them with you
10) It’s never too late to model new behavior. To chase after God.