We labor for the kind of house that makes it impossible for it to ever be a home. We celebrate pregnancy long enough to deliver them predominantly to the care of another. In the name of our expensive education. In their name "boredom" or "unfulfilled."
And at the end of the day, when they are with us, we really aren't with them. They get the waning scraps of our time, attention and energy. We orphan them to devices, television, video games and electronic media. We sacrifice our kids for things, instead of things for our kids.
We are fathers of the fatherless. In absence of our love our daughters search for it elsewhere. In the way they dress and act we allow them to think of themselves as objects. (Have we forgotten what it was like to be a testosterone-charged teenage boy?) To our sons we bequeath an image of "father" that is anything but. A "right" to maximize being plugged in to ourselves, and unplugged from everyone else.
We are beleaguered. We have surrendered our responsibility to be Godly leaders. Without a fundamental sense of mission and purpose, we merely reflect the rudderless culture around us. We are thermometers, not thermostats. We have given up important boundaries and expectations to their push back, leaving them prey. Our abdication reaffirms absence of a loving God, and their own lack of real worth.
To all this we offer the parental standards of "Ok" or "Alright," as in, "They'll be ok" or "They'll turn out alright" - standards we wouldn't even think of offering a prospective employer inquiring about how we'd do on the job. We console ourselves that children may go astray with even the best of parenting, without really subjecting ourselves to the shining light of "best parenting."
Many of us hide behind being religious, or even spiritual. We faithfully attend church on Sunday. We pray before meals. We have holy images on our walls. We even attend spiritual events and read spiritual materials. Too often we regard these as "products" of spiritual cosmetology, versus our life blood. Too often we're more fixed on appearing holy than in actually becoming holy. Our spiritual pride keeps us insulated from taking a hard look in the mirror.
Whatever we may say about our various, holy activities, the greatest evidence is that our lives are not contagious enough to connect with the multitude of searching hearts around us; numbers are in steady decline; the Holy Communion we receive does not correspond to a Holy Community we live.
Many of us have failed to navigate beyond momentary conviction to a total commitment. Our calendars pronounce what we really worship. If a coach were to request an additional 60 minutes of practice tomorrow, we'd get them there. We would make the sacrifice. Yet, when is the last time we set aside just 60 minutes as a family to talk and pray, to encounter the life-giving grace of the Holy Spirit alive in our relationships?
And we wonder. Why are our children so disconnected. Confused. Angry. Misguided. Disrespectful. Rebellious. Selfish. Unkind. The hard truth is, they image us. They are our proclamation of faith. They are our legacy. They are crying out for a kind of love they were designed to receive, for which we alone were uniquely designed to give. Our greatest and most sacred trust. Nothing and no one can fill the vacuous cavern left by a parent's absence.
Parents, there are no presents that surpass the gift of our presence. Fashioned in the image of God in Jesus Christ, our greatest joy in life will only be found in giving our lives away (Matt. 16:24). God calls us to this great mission. Family is it's capacity. We have but a moment and then it's gone. No identity or mission surpasses the truth: we Image the Trinity. Our mission is to make God, who is Love, known.
This week turn IT around. Put a flag in the sand. Commit to so much more than a moment, but a movement. Start by setting aside just 10 minutes as a family to take the Live IT 60/7 Inventory. It is an eye-opener, and likely a door opener to a great adventure. More than ever, our world needs this testimony. Join us!.