The word egocentric refers to a world that "revolves around oneself." Theocentric refers to a world that "revolves around God." I wonder if there is a word that describes someone whose world "revolves around their kids." If there's a word for that I haven't found it. Let's make one up. How bout kidocentric? That sounds smart.
Lately I've been noticing a trend that's not new, but it seems to be growing faster than ever: Parents who are living in a kidocentric world. They are absolutely consumed with making sure their kids are in every activity, at every event, and have every opportunity. They wouldn't ever admit it, but their kids are calling the shots.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all about providing for your kids. This is not an article for parents who neglect their kids, it's an article for the parents who live for their kids.
Never in my life have I seen so many parents sacrifice everything in the name of their kids, especially their marriage. Here's the usual sentence I hear, "My spouse and I may be growing apart right now but our kids are really involved in (insert activity here)." Or something along those lines.
It's almost like being kidocentric is a justifiable reason to have a crappy marriage. I know my marriage stinks but my kid is really excelling in math and he looks so cute in that soccer uniform. Seriously?
I think we need to get back to understanding that we were husbands or wives long before we were fathers or mothers. Our initial calling is to our spouse and in that calling we pass down an incredible blessing to our children. One they may not understand right now but hopefully they will one day realize.
The greatest thing you can give your child is not another activity, event, or opportunity; it's a mom and dad who are passionately in love with one another. That means don't feel guilty for leaving your kids with a babysitter every now and then for date night. Show your kids that your prioritize your marriage above your role as father and mother and you are actually setting them up for greatness. One day they will look back and respect you even more.
I can't help but think why it's so easy to fall into this type of trap. There are probably a myriad of reasons, but one that I have observed is that we greatly undervalue the significance of a marriage covenant.
At your marriage ceremony you probably stood on stage and repeated several phrases that at the time were sincere and heartfelt. Phrases such as "I promise to be true to you in good times and bad" and "I will love and honor you all the days of my life." In this ceremony we entered into a lifelong covenant with both God and our spouse.
The reality is that over time we trade those phrases for thoughts such as "I will remain committed to this marriage as long as my needs are met" or "I will honor you until it becomes too much work." We may not say that out loud but few people would argue that marriages end every day based on that logic.
Many marriages end because of blatant, obvious issues that both people saw as irreconcilable. Other times, it is the subtle saboteurs that sneak in and destroy what was once healthy and alive.
Our kids, who are a huge blessing from God, can actually be a "subtle saboteur" of our marriage if we haven't protected it. If we fail to set up proper boundaries and guidelines in our family then many parents will fly their "kidocentric" flag proudly or wear it as a sort of badge of honor.
We walk with an heir of pride and haughtiness because our kids are talented, involved, and in the top 90 percent of life, all the while our marriage is in a continual state of decline.
Most the time this happens unintentionally, but it happens nevertheless. How do we fight against sacrificing our marriage for our kids? Why can't we have incredible marriages and be incredible parents? Maybe we need to start redefining our understanding of successful families and/or kids.
I had a great spiritual mentor growing up. On several occasions, I would be sitting next to him at the dinner table when one of their kids would mouth off to his wife. He would calmly stop, look over to his child and say, "You're not going to talk to my wife that way."
I'll never forget that. He taught me such an incredible lesson by the way he ran his family. They guarded the amazing covenant of marriage and would not let anything, even their kids, become the center of their existence.
I know it's easy to fall into a trap of neglecting your marriage for you kids. Fight that tendency. What your kids really need is to see a godly reflection of a marriage that they can forever pattern their own life after. When you protect, nurture, and cultivate an amazing marriage you are passing down the greatest blessing to your children you could ever imagine.
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