Sorting Out Your Family’s Priorities

Allowing the gospel to set the priorities of your family.

Christian parents are called to wisely and prayerfully consider what it looks like to live as a faithful steward of the gospel. One way that we steward the gospel—though we do it imperfectly—is by striving to prioritize it above everything else in our life.

 

I grew up in rural Mississippi—a beautiful blend of cattle pastures, meandering brooks, and forests. For some, this sounds dreadful, but for me, it was a delight. Climbing trees, playing on hay bales, and conquering hordes of imaginary enemies lurking in the woods were the daily adventures of my childhood, and they are memories that I still cherish.

My family is now planted in New Orleans, a city full of adventure, but not the type of place where a child can roam and explore. When we return to Mississippi to visit our families, I see how the place affects my children. My oldest son, in particular, appears to come alive even more. Running around the wide-open lawns with no shoes. Riding on the tractor with his grandfather. Going to pick vegetables from the garden. It’s a place where a six-year-old boy who is full of energy can go explore and learn about God’s glorious creation.

To be honest, I periodically struggle with our decision to take our kids away from small-town Mississippi. While we know that our life in the city has a great deal to offer, my wife and I both enjoyed our childhoods, so it can feel like we are robbing our kids of a gift.

This is just one of the many concerns that can plague parents. We desire to be good parents, to raise our children in a setting where they can thrive holistically, but there are always doubts. Am I doing this right? Are they going to grow up resenting their childhood?

Another area this plays out is a child’s extracurricular hobbies. Parents nowadays overload weekly schedules to have their kids involved in every activity imaginable. FOMO means “fear of missing out,” and many parents allow this mindset to guide their household. Children and teenagers are encouraged—and sometimes pushed—to fill their schedules with traveling sports teams and school clubs out of fear that the child will miss out on something, whether it’s popularity at school or a competitive advantage on the sports field.

As I reflected on our decision to live away from our comfortable upbringing, I came to realize this: What our kids need from us more than a lifestyle of enjoying every comfort is to see what it looks like to carry our cross daily. They need to see that we actually believe that Christ is worth giving up everything for. They need to see that God’s powerful grace enables us to make sacrifices for the sake of Christ.

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