selfless: concerned more about the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own; unselfish
Often when people talk about selflessness, they talk about heroism on the battlefield, in the workplace, or in other scenarios with adult-to-adult interactions. But I like to bring it down to who I am as a parent.
I want to be “concerned more about MY KIDS’ needs and wishes than with my own.” Are they Hot? Cold? Tired? Lonely? Scared? Embarrassed? I want to be right there to meet them where they are…right there with compassion and gentleness and grace.
Sometimes I hear people talk about how important it is to put yourself first and I see where they’re coming from (we all need time to regroup, relax, and reflect sometimes, after all…). BUT…I also think that our culture suffers from chronic selfishness. Parents included.
I know this from experience. It’s much easier to let my selfishness creep up than to let go of what I want. I don’t want to be all about me, me, me. I want to put others first.
People tend to get all up-and-arms when it is suggested that parents put their kids needs and wants first. They tsk-tsk and say, “No, no…parents should put themselves first and their kids second.” While I agree that what is best for kids ISN’T pushing your needs aside completely or giving them everything they want (sometimes what they want isn’t really what they need…), I don’t entirely agree with the “put-your-kids-needs-second-all-of-the-time” way of living either. The Golden Rule is what it is…our kids are included in that principle.
But this I know to be true: The more that I respond to my children with kindness, forgiveness, silliness, and servanthood…the more they respond in-turn with those qualities.
As I go about my day, I try to keep Sheldon Vanauken’s words in mind, “Love is the one thing we can give away endlessly-…and yet have even more of.”