I was sitting there in the sanctuary this morning “listening” to the sermon. By listening, I mean I was thumbing through various bible texts that I find interesting. I usually see where the pastor is going with his message in the first two minutes, after that I tune out.
It’s amazing to me how little the bible says about having kids and raising a family, yet modern Christianity loves to espouse “family values”. It’s all right there, we should only take a wife if we absolutely must, only if we can’t control our urges. Yet we run around talking how we must marry young have lots of kids. If we stick with the New Testament, hardly a word is written about children at all.
I’m not saying family values aren’t important, but it doesn’t take a biblical scholar to understand that the bible wants us to experience our own spiritual journey more than anything else. It is less about what we should “do” and more about what roadblock should be removed so we can move closer to God.
Sure, it talks about showing our children the way, and not becoming a roadblock in their own journeys. But somewhere along the way we’ve made it about far more than that, and perhaps that is harming our children. Is it possible that Christianity is contributing to the “ME” culture so pervasive out there?
By making our lives “all about the kids” are we willing ourselves into a culture of narcissism? Quite possibly. Are we actually turning our gaze away from our own spiritual journey and using our kids as a nifty excuse to do so?
When I find myself in a funk, when I feel a general sense of uneasiness, it can usually be traced back to making someone, or something, else the center of my focus rather than my own spiritual journey.
The same way we can smother a relationship by focusing too much on the other person, we can smother our children.
As a single father it is easy to “focus on my kids” and ignore my own growth. This is quite often the cause of any loss of peace I feel. Not only that, but by focusing on them I am creating a roadblock in their own journey. How are they supposed to follow their own path if I’m all over them?
This isn’t unique to single fathers by any means. Nearly every family at church lives a child centered existence, and the early signs of the ME culture can be seen their children as well.
Simply being alone with one’s thoughts is a rarity these days, and unheard of for today’s children. While at first it seems selfish to turn my focus back inside myself, I am doing myself and my children a giant favor.