Myth #1: To be a good parent I have to get my child involved in many outside activities.
Observation: We live in a consumer economy. That means there are always a lot of options for our children’s time. There is the plethora of sporting activities: baseball (spring, winter, fall), basketball (spring, winter, fall), football, gymnastics,… vying for their participation. There are dance lessons, music lessons. There are summer camps of great variety. There are even advanced academic classes (often in the summer) that are designed to give their children a jump start.
Observation: Today’s parents feel pressure to have their children in many of these activities. They think, “What good parent wouldn’t give their children every opportunity to better themselves and perhaps give them a jump start in life.
Problem: Now it must be said that the activities in themselves are not bad, nor is a parent’s desire to encourage their child’s development an evil. But the problem comes with what price we have to pay. Many of the activities today ask for a lot. The coach of the little league says you have to be present at every practice and every game or you’re out. He wants commitment and so parents who want to be good parents make that happen. But consider the costs. I’ve watched families run from activity to activity not even having time to eat a meal together. Is that really what God calls us to?
But even more germane is the fact that we may be trying to “fill” our children’s lives with things that are second best. I have watched many parents as they run from activity to activity satisfying the demands of each, decide they don’t have time for church – or for midweek club or for summer camp.
This is tragic since it is in Christ that we find our fullness, not in the other, albeit good things. Paul said that “in Christ all the fullness of deity dwells and in Him you have been made complete.” True fullness comes in knowing Christ – in being united to Christ, in finding our completeness in Him. These other things can’t make that claim, and yet I see parents pursuing them to the peril of their children.
Parents, please consider what all your activity suggests to your children your priorities are for them. Ask the Lord to reveal to you if the good things you are pursuing are keeping your and your children from the best. Then meditate on the words of author J.C. Philpot below. Ask the Lord how He might use you to encourage your child to know the blessedness of fullness in Christ.
How do we possess all things? In possessing Christ who is heir of all things. If we possess Christ, what have we not in Him? We have wisdom to teach us, righteousness to justify us, sanctification to make us holy, and redemption to deliver us from sin, death, and hell. If we have Him, we have the favour and love of God; we have the pardon of our sins, the reconciliation of our persons, the casting behind God’s back of all our backslidings, and a title to a heavenly crown. If we have Him, we have everything in Him, for Christ is ours, and Christ is God’s. Therefore in Him we possess all things. We shall have in providence things sufficient to carry us to the grave. He will give us everything that is for our good, and keep back nothing that is for our benefit. If we possess Him, what have we not in Him?