the end game

We’re at week five in the first term of this new school year. I’m thinking that your life with kids is ramping up a notch or two as sports are being registered for, practices are beginning, games are being played, and all else that a full life entails is happening.

I’ve been thinking about how easy it is to get lost in the to do lists, to loose sight of what this parenting gig is all about. To have that end game, that intentionality in your life, replaced by a gazillion other things. All good and well, but just other things, that when you stop to think about it, these things may not line up with what you really want your end game with your family to be.

Specifically, I’ve been thinking about ‘happiness’. I may be well off track here, but I think most parents want their kids to be happy, right? But maybe sometimes we place too much of an emphasis on creating this state of happiness, at the cost of other things, or not placing enough emphasis on what our hearts desires for our kids really are.

My family has just moved internationally, twice within a thirteen month time frame. At the top of my list of wants for each three kids has been the desire to see them happy. To see them enjoying life. To see them making new friends and liking their new school. To see them happy. It has been rough on this Mumma Bear’s heart and emotions, so ‘happiness’ is a natural desire, right?

And I believe it is one of my jobs to ‘facilitate’ as much as possible to make this happiness happen. There are things I can do, or not do, to help each child to be happy. But I have to remember, and maybe you need the reminder, that happiness comes and goes for each and every one of us. I have an underlying sense of joy in my life, that’s a certainty for me, but the happiness, that’s more of a changeable thing, for me and for children. So here’s the thing, if we’re too busy trying to make our kids happy, at the expense of other things, then maybe our end game with how we want our parenting to be is a little off target.

Knowing why we’re doing what we’re doing with our kiddliwinks, helps us as we focus on the right here and right now. And helps us to know how to action things for them. A lot of parents get into the whole buying of ‘schtufff’ for their kids, aiming for the happiness these things may bring them. And there may be nothing wrong with that….unless these things and the motivation behind these things don’t line up with what our end game is…..why should I buy little Johnny some more Wii games just for fun, because he likes playing Wiiimage, when I actually would like little Johnny to spend more time using his own imagination, and spending more time outside….for example. Why should I schedule little Johnny in for multiple sports plus music plus Boy Scouts plus art lessons plus swimming lessons, when at the end of the week he is too tired to be pleasant to anyone, when an end game goal for me may be to grow a child who loves people and is interested in people and has a servant heart. And little Johnny is too exhausted for any of that.

My actions with parenting have to intentionally match up with what this whole thing is all about, and that’s something that is all too easy to loose sight of.

So, I’m taking some time out to re-evaluate, what kind of kids do I want to be growing? What character traits and passions would be awesome to see in their hearts? What exactly is my end game in all of this? Not that parenting ever stops but there will come a day when those boys of mine do leave my house and my fridge will be rejoicing, while my own heart is sinking.

So I don’t think that happiness is the really the goal here, but a lot more deeper and more meaningful things are actually at the heart of parenting. What do you think?