I was recently scrolling through my social media feed (that’s long hand for “Facebook”) and my eyes locked onto a headline:
Celebrity musician Justin Timberlake found some unwelcomed comments on Twitter for his statements in an interview. Although Timberlake is not wrong that “on-call” parenting is hard, it was a particular statement in the midst of the interview that caught me, and many others, off guard. Timberlake stated, “We’re mostly commiserating over the fact that just 24-hour parenting is just not human.”
Is this how we approach parenting, with frustration because we are inconvenienced? Are we inconvenienced as parents? Of course we are! But it’s for our joy and betterment of our children.
We’d be lying to ourselves if we said that this attitude never came until the past few weeks. It’s not just because Timberlake is a celebrity. I think we have all experienced an attitude like Justin, and this stay-home order has only enhanced that.
Honest Confession Moment: I have a super hard time with being inconvenienced. I’m washing dishes, my daughter calls to me from the bathroom needing help. I’m working on a project or reading, my son has to show me his awesome Hot Wheels track setup. I’m trying to sit and play some guitar, and my dog needs to go outside (okay, he’s not a kid, but honestly, it’s like having another kid in the house).
When we became parents, our lives were no longer our own.
The dependence of our children is as natural as the dirt on the ground and the clouds in the sky. It’s the nature of being a parent. Our children cannot do everything for themselves, and they shouldn’t. At least not yet. Our children need help because they need direction in tasks as simple as what they should wear on a 37 degree day (no, shorts and a t-shirt will not suffice) to making life decisions such as which college they should attend.
They need our 24/7 parenting because they are immature, inexperienced, yet cute little humans. They are not to be seen as distractions or inconveniences, but opportunities of change in the world.
I think of the tear-jerker book by Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree. As the tree continues to allow the boy to take her apples and branches and cut down her trunk, she reveals a selfless love and care for the boy. She gives up everything she is to support the boy. My wife often shares a quote, and I’m not going to pretend I remember it, but the idea of the quote is that we allow our children to stand on our shoulders so they can reach new opportunities.
“My wife often shares a quote, and I’m not going to pretend I remember it, but the idea of the quote is that we allow our children to stand on our shoulders so they can reach new opportunities.”
I’m not saying you’re failing as a parent if you struggle with this. What I am saying is that there is hope for you and your children. It’s up to you. How can we be consistent in this? How can we move forward as parents who encourage our children, and eliminate discouragement and frustration?
I want my attitude to that of the Giving Tree: I want my children to use me for their advantage. I want my children to be better than I ever was or will be. I want to give every opportunity to my children to grow in character and knowledge. I want them to stand on my shoulders, not so I can brag about what I’ve done to help them, but so they can reach further than I ever could. I want to willingly set myself aside. In the midst of my busyness, as my son calls to me from his bedroom, I want to be able to say to him, “I will give you the moment you need, because I know it is better for you, and us, in the long run.”
Are you willing to set yourself aside for your children when they need you?
Justin Timberlake Article: https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/justin-timberlake-criticized-tone-deaf-055641948.html
Guest Blog Author:
Neil Sierocki is a husband, dad-of-three, follower of Christ, and the Pastoral Resident at Our Redeemer Church in Midland, MI. Neil has spent the past ten years working with students (ages 11-19) as a mentor and pastor. He is currently working with the Bay-Arenac Great Start Collaborative to kickstart the fatherhood initiative, Great Start Dads.