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.”
Wonderful post, Stephanie! I think the more we give of ourselves to those around us (especially our children) the better results we'll get.
Great post - I completely agree. Happy birthday by the way - hope it was a wonderful day!!!
this is one of the things i struggle with. it goes completely against our nature to be selfless, but if we are to be like Christ, we have to be. i pray for this every single morning!
In our house our motto is: Our marriage comes first, our kids come next.
Making a marriage priority one means living selflessly. And then, when your marriage is strong, you feel full and when you feel full your kids benefit. It's win, win and everyone's happy.
I am completely with you on this. How are our kids going to learn to be selfless if we don't model that for them? Young children most of all I believe have some of the most legitimate needs and wants--the need/want to be loved, listened to, valued, hugged, told they matter to their parents and to God . . .
I think when these needs are met and exceeded in childhood, the grown-up that emerges is secure and giving. I wonder if some of the selfishness in our current generation of parents is a result of not having these vital needs met as children--and so the adults that have emerged (some, not all) are a bit insecure and needy and figure now it's "my" time.
So glad you included this in your list. While I think it's important for me to have "my time" and to reach out for things I want - I think it is much more important for me to be selfless, to put my children, my husband, their needs first more often than not.
You have to try and be what you'd like your children to mirror. I want my kids to be caring and compassionate and selfless without being pushovers.
i think too that you teach selflessness by doing things YOU love with your kids as well as doing things THEY love (as if there is a difference at a young age- we love just doing anything together at this point)
i like to think that as my kids older they will be cool with going to a neat musical because they know its something they can enjoy doing with me because i love it and vice versa (maybe a rock concert that i might not like so much but would love to do with them)
A constant need to be reminded of... Thanks!
And I love your incorporation of Sheldon Van Auken. I need to read that book again.
Amen! I agree with you and I also believe that when we keep growing and building our marriage as a priority, everything will flow down from that. When our kids see us treating each other selflessly it teaches and inspires them to do the same. Thanks for sharing who you are and who you want to be with us!
Being selfless is Christ like --- and what I strive to be more like. My Granny always comes to mind when I think of selfless. I miss her. And I aspire to be like her!
This: 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....is so true! I always need that reminder! Thanks! :)