When I was five months pregnant with our first child, my mum was diagnosed with a really rare form of inoperable liver cancer and given 4-6 weeks to live. Talk about a change in priorities. When I rang work (I had a brilliant nursing position), my boss immediately said to take the next two months off and she would work out the details. The rest of the family lived in Tasmania whilst hubby and I were here in Victoria, Australia, necessitating numerous plane trips back and forth across the water. I had already had a difficult pregnancy with losing Princess’ twin plus constant vomiting up to five times daily throughout it but this death sentence caused me to change how I lived the next four months.
Mum lived long enough to see our daughter born here in Victoria and stay with us for the first three weeks. She died within a few days of returning home to Tasmania.
If we only had a couple of months or a couple of years left with our kids before either they or you died, how different would you parent and live your life? I actually dislike questions like this because it is a bit unreal and unless you are in that situation, it is hard to imagine. However, I believe it is a good thing every now and then to stop and reflect this way and see if we would change our priorities. On reflection of my parenting style, it would certainly change the issues that I believe are important and worth focussing on. It wouldn’t be on so many of the issues that the world seems to find important, what career, school grades etc but more life experiences, character issues, fun…
I was at a service station filling the car up with fuel today and went inside to pay. I stood in front of the distracted cashier, for what seemed liked ages, waiting to pay. He kept writing figures on paper (which I then realised were number plate registrations) and lifting binoculars to his eyes. It was an extremely busy place and he was determined to not let anyone get away without paying. He was so distracted by this that it was taking him away from collecting the payment of someone who wanted to pay (me).
I have realised the ‘Books 4 Cambodia’ project has become a major distraction for our family and me in my parenting. It has become a regular occurrence to hear “We will do that when…”, “After we finish packing the container on Friday, we will…”, “Not now, I’ve got so much to do.”
Are there things in your life at the moment that are taking you away from your priorities in raising your kids? Are there areas that you need to ‘tweak’at the moment? I encourage you to grab a coffee and sit down for a few minutes and just meditate/reflect/ask God/ponder – what do you want your priorities to be with raising your children and how can you do things differently to reflect that. What is one change you could make this week?
You may be in a season where there is a huge project that has a limited time frame. Please don’t use excuses as it is easy for short term behaviours and attitudes and priorities to become ingrained as the ‘normal’ way of doing life. Be honest with yourself.
I also encourage you to ask your children for some feedback. Examples: “What is one thing you wish mum would do differently?” “If you could, how would you like to change our family life at the moment?”
I encourage you this week to seek time out to continue ‘pondering’ about priorities in raising your children. Enjoy!!