As parents, we want what’s best for the kids: a nice home, the best school in the country, healthy food, and more. We want to give them the good things in life, that’s why we work hard. Some parents file for over time just to provide for what their kids need. Others go overseas or work two jobs — all for the sake of the children.
It’s always for the kids, some parents will say.
There’s nothing wrong with working to provide for our children’s needs. But when we work too hard to the point that we don’t see them anymore, there’s a problem.
Working for the Kids or for Yourself?
Some parents don’t notice (or refuse to acknowledge) that their focus is wavering. They end up spending most of their time at the office than with the kids. In their opinion, their OT work is meant to earn funds for the kid’s future. In reality, however, they don’t realize that they are already working for themselves.
There are different reasons behind this attitude: some parents don’t realize that they are already chasing their ambition. They work hard to get promoted and to earn more, not because the kids need it. Others push themselves hard because they want to get away from the family drama. Work has become a coping mechanism, not a tool to provide. They work hard for security, not for family.
I know what that’s like. There was a time when I drove myself on the edge of my work, thinking it was for the kids anyway. I had a lot of business and I was making a lot of money, but I didn’t realize I was losing them in the process.
Building their Future without Your Presence
Being good providers doesn’t automatically make us good parents. Yes, our children need the money for their food and school, but if we’re too busy providing for them, they won’t need us anymore in the long term. Before you know it, your kids are distant and cold.
Our children need us to love them and be there for the important moments. They need us to help mold their character and anchor their spiritual strength to God. The Bible is full of commandments for parents to mind their children:
Train up a child in the way he should go,
[a]And when he is old he will not depart from it
Notice how it doesn’t say Earn more for your child. The verse says we are called to train our children in the way they should go, meaning the way of the Lord. How do we train them if we are too busy making a living?
Kids First, Work Second
I’m not saying you should stop working. What I want to say is that we should learn to prioritize. Work the right amount, but not too much that we forget to attend to our children emotionally and spiritually.
Instead of spending your spare time filing for overtime, go home early. Spend time with the kids. Ask them about their day. Let them know that you care about them. Trust me, your children will appreciate the time you give.
As parents, it’s our responsibility to provide for the kids. However, we also have the responsibility to love them and help them achieve their full potential.
Better to spend more time with children now than to spend most of your time regretting in the future, wondering why you missed plenty of precious moments.