Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Are You Giving TO or Living THROUGH Your Kids?

I was standing at Starbuck's recently talking to a man who apparently attends my church now and then (it's a big church). He had introduced himself and we continued to chat as we waited for our espresso drinks.

But soon he said, "I need to gloat a little. Yesterday my son won the regional wrestling tournament and he's only a freshman!"  I of course congratulated him and could resonate with the pride he was feeling after a great accomplishment by one of his kids.

I am glad he felt comfortable telling me as I'm sure his dad tank was still overflowing as it should be.

However, I also know that some parents relish moments like that and then crave for more. The success of their kids becomes a drug that they can't shake. Perhaps the child is achieving in ways they never did or they merely have to one-up the neighbors. It doesn't matter the reason. Living through our children is a black hole that has serious consequences for them and us!

Some of those consequences?  We inappropriately push our children too hard. Instead of being honest about their abilities or lack of them we demand that they keep going and get to the next level. And we can subsequently send the message that unless you perform you're not good enough for us. And watching the success of the scant few who reached the Olympics this week doesn't likely help.

Second, instead of being normally proud we become narcisstically arrogant. Everything starts to revolve around their succcesses and it's all we talk about. We chart every statistic, keep track of every win or loss and brag on Facebook or at the next meeting with a friend about their performance. To be honest we can become an annoying pain rather than a cherished friend enjoying one's children.

Third, we can lose some of our connection with our child. We don't talk anymore about school unless it involves their skills, we rarely discuss everyday life and just focus on their sport, club, music or whatever. And it's possible that they too feel they can't really get our attention unless they've done something notable.

Finally, we can avoid looking at the void in us we're trying to fill through them. Chances are there is something in us that we're trying to soothe, a pain we're wanting to dull or a goal we still want to reach through their successes. And if we don't figure out what it is and learn to fill that void in healthy, spiritual, godly ways it will never happen. And we'll never be satisfied.

Are you giving to your kids in loving, caring and normal ways?  Or are you trying to live through your kids' successes?  Enjoy those special accomplishments. Tell them you're proud of them of course. But make sure you love them no matter what. That's the way God treats us and I don't think we'd want it any other way. Your kids don't either.

Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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