It is essential that parents realize the impact they have on their children. Few things are as rewarding as the joy you feel when your little child runs up to you, throws their arms around your neck, and says, “I love you, Daddy!” In such moments they can do no wrong. Unfortunately, life with children is made up of many, many moments, and not all of them are like that.
In order to maneuver through the role of parenting we must first establish a foundation of trust and respect; these are imperative to growing a healthy relationship with children. Trust is established from the get-go. We receive our children as blank slates in many regards. In our hands we hold a tiny new totally dependent being that is counting on us to provide all their needs. These little beings also happen to be very egocentric, thinking everything revolves around them. Rightfully so; that’s all they know. When they want or need something, they want it now and they make no qualms about letting you know it. This can be difficult for some parents who don’t truly understand the selflessness required of a parent. I didn’t realize how selfish I was until I got married. I was used to having things a certain way, and I was never challenged in my preferences or personal goals. I was free to come and go as I liked and to spend my money on whatever I chose.
When I got married that all changed. I was in for a reality check, but this was also true of my wife. We both had to move to a place of selflessness to develop our marital relationship. At times we still struggle with our own selfishness. Well, we thought we had it down pretty well, then along came baby…and baby number two. God took us to a whole new place. We were forced to grow in ways neither of us anticipated. We learned firsthand what was meant by “life is a refining process.” Our growth is far from done, and we often find ourselves having to adapt and grow just as our children do.
Remember, training the selfishness out of our children is a journey that starts in the mirror!
In what ways do you see your own selfishness on display in your child(rens) attitudes/behavior? What areas of personal selfishness will you need to change to better the dynamics between you and your child(ren)?
©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design
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