I find myself at a pivotal crossroads as a parent. Both daughters are graduating - one from college and another from high school. My critical parenting years are over. I’m forced to look back and see if I spent my time wisely. Was I present to participate in the “MAGICAL MOMENTS” in their lives? Did I invest my time creating solid and lasting “GOLDEN MEMORIES”, or were my resources spent sightlessly bringing home temporary, hollow substitutes?
Since The Depression Era, society has taken hold of and believed the lie that stature and wealth are worthy goals and life-long pursuits. Every decade that has passed since that time, greater percentages of the populace have become further programmed by this belief system to our own self-destructive detriment. Consequently, significant portions of the American family dynamic have been adversely affected, perpetually altering individual’s lives in the wake of that fallout. Advertising, technology and materialism have so tainted the family fabric that any positive aspects they have incorporated into our lives have been negated by misuse and abuse as we forfeit more and more self-control to satisfy our insatiable appetites.
This is the society that has influenced recent generations and continues to unravel what God intended when He created family. I believe it is why such a vast majority of people today devote their lives to their work and career to the point of no return. There’s nothing wrong with being a diligent employer or employee, in fact it is commendable and upright in God’s eyes. How it becomes destructive is when we make them our god and all else becomes secondary. It is the demise of far too many people lost on a road with an unfulfilling destination as it destroys relationships all along the pathway. It has us making excuses for our never ending quest. “I’m doing this for the family.” “This is for you guys.” “I want you to have a better life.” Whether it is a weak attempt to justify and feel better about our all-consuming self-centeredness, or a genuine folly of ignorance that is unintentional, our state is like an infectious addiction - an ever constant attempt to “measure up” in this superficial society which we have created and worshiped.
These may seem like harsh and intense statements, but I see this as a critical issue that holds very severe and unsympathetic consequences. The reality is that our vision and purpose have become greatly skewed. Is there an answer surrounding the perplexities of our dilemma – an antidote that will inoculate us against this virus that has poisoned the core of our culture? Our contamination will not be reversed by injecting it with more meaningless monetary pursuits. It will take hard work, but not the kind generated by putting in overtime at the office. The cure can only be achieved by redirecting our attention and emphasis to the foundation of our relationships. Designate and spend valuable time appreciating who the other person is. Get involved in their lives while being completely present as we engage with them. Make the effort to do things that might not come so easy. Take time to have that special daddy/daughter date at her restaurant of choice, even if it’s sushi and that’s not your favorite thing. Maybe schedule a mother/son day with an activity that he really enjoys, which probably doesn’t involve shopping of any kind. These are the invaluable essential elements that will lift and restore us from a rapid decaying descent.
I examine myself and the decisions I’ve made, trying to determine whether I have become the parent that God intended for me to be. How did I do? In my own life I can see that the last twenty years have been a process. In the beginning I became hopelessly entangled in the many webs of deceit that encircle scores of young, driven, over-achieving fathers. Thankfully now, through God’s loving intervention, He has loosened the grip and broken the hold my former life implored. Somehow, at this juncture, I actually think I can say that I have given them a foundation based on what is really important. I fully believe and feel utterly assured with no uncertainty that my children are ready to embrace the world and be the adults that God intends for them to be. Not because of my intellect or extraordinary parenting skills, but only in light of His extreme unexplainable grace.
Bottom line…the pursuit of “things” destroys relationships and ruins lives. It will always make us a “no show” for the simple, one-on-one magical moments. At the end of our days, it won’t be prominence or our “stuff” that will bring us all-sustaining fulfillment. It will be our relationship and the memories we have made with the ones we love.
About the Author:
John Tracy Wilson is the author of the book “Of Life, Love and Family”. You can find him on the web at www.johntracywilson.com