16 Mar Purposeful Parenting (Part 3): Be More Meaningful
Today’s post is a little something I learned from a little guy with a big personality. His name is Robby Novak, a.k.a. Kid President, and I’ve never met him in real life. But if I do ever get the chance to meet him, I’ll probably bring cupcakes because I’m pretty sure he likes them. I know this because he says things like:
“Us humans are capable of war and sadness and other terrible stuff, but also cupcakes.”
“You can’t be sad when you’re holding a cupcake.”
“If everybody ate cupcakes, ain’t nobody be mad.”
Now that you’re smiling and thinking about cupcakes, I’ll get to the real point of this post:
My favorite thing he says is, “Don’t be a meanie. Be more meaningful.”
Don’t you just love that? Meaning means something different to different people. There’s a myriad different ways to bring more meaning into our lives. As a parent of four kids ranging in age from elementary to high school, we’re working hard in our family to help them create a life that’s full of purpose. We encourage our kids to pursue the things they love, and we fiercely protect the time we have with them here at home. I have the Legacy app on my phone, and as I type this I can look at it and see there’s only 110 weeks left until my oldest graduates. It’s cliche but it goes by fast. Moms of preschoolers, trust me on this. It really does fly.
Over the years, I’ve been paying attention to the stories that shape us. Memories from childhood shape our worldview and influence our choices. I’m often times more fascinated by what people choose to leave out than what they actually say. There’s one thing that’s universal to childhood but almost universally gets left out of the stories.
I never hear people talk about little league baseball, pee wee football, or recreational soccer.
I mean, never.
Maybe they talk about the church they attended or what kind of marriage their parents had or even a camp or a mission trip experience. But recreational sports just never show up. Then I started thinking about how much time the people I know spend taking their kids to and from sports practices, how they miss things they say are important, how their families rarely eat dinner together and how often they complain about how little free time they have because they spend all of it in the car.
Please hear this: I don’t think we should get rid of sports.
There’s no better place to learn about conflict resolution or dealing with disappointment and swallowing your pride than on the ball field. But there’s also no better mechanism for internalizing the meaning of these things than within the context of relationships.
We love the coaches and teachers that have sacrificed so much of their precious time for our kids.
Here’s where I’m struggling: When I hear people talk about the terrible diagnosis or the unexpected layoff or the toxic relationship that ended tragically, they never mention how their childhood experience participating in recreational sports helped carry them through their darkest time.
Time is currency with no assigned standard value. It’s hard to decide where to invest all those minutes and hours. But I know one thing. I want the investment to be meaningful. Purposeful. Our family did this by taking a season off. Knowing we’ll have time together in the near future sustains us when things are crazy, and everybody is eating dinner at a different time and no one is ever all in the car together. We know it’s for a season. And that makes it bearable. And as much as we love sports, we don’t miss church to play them on Sundays. Even if you’re not a church a person, please consider adopting a day to rest, any day. It’s good for the body–and the soul.
And maybe most important of all, ask yourself this question: Does this activity (sport, vacation, play group, club, etc.) make our lives better or just more complicated? If it makes things better, then by all means, go for it! Go Team! But if things are about to get complicated…well, I don’t even think we have to talk about it…you know what to do.
How are you creating more meaning in your family? Please share in the comments below. (Also, cupcake recipes!)