I love you dearly. As a parent, I want “to give you a good life.” But you may need me to define what I mean by that.
A good life doesn’t necessarily include lots of material things. It may, it can, but things don’t define a good life.
When a parent says things like, “I want to give my children things I didn’t have” and then proceeds to overwork themselves so they can pay for lots of stuff for their children, that’s not really a good life. That’s a substitute.
In my attempt to give you a good life, I mean my first priority will be to make myself as available to you as possible–regardless of whether that allows me to give you lots of stuff. I want us to spend time together, talk a lot, read together, play together and figure things out together.
Because above everything else that will ensure you have a good life, you will need to learn wisdom for how to live. Wisdom that is from above is what will give you the foundation of a good life. To get wisdom, you must spend the majority of your time with those wiser than you.
My main goal is not to make sure you have the latest I-phone. (If it becomes necessary, I’ll consider it. But the gadgets you own have nothing to do with your quality of life, your happiness, and you are certainly not entitled to them.)
Whether or not you get to play on a sport’s team is also irrelevant. It’s neither a good thing nor a bad thing, specifically, just irrelevant to the good life.
I’ve heard parents say that they want to shield their children from hard work because they worked hard when they were young and they wanted to “give their children something better.” I disagree with this definition of “better.” You need to know, upfront, that I will be working hard to instill in you the importance of working hard. Anything else would be robbing you of some of your good life.
Dating, as in the recreational sense of young people “falling in love” before they are ready to even consider marriage is unwise, at best, and will certainly not be an activity I expect you to be familiar with. Thankfully, you can already see the pitfalls of it, and you understand how far ahead you’ll be not wasting your young years pining away from some gal or guy who will barely be a distant memory one day. There are so many better things to do while you’re young.
As your parents, we’ll buy you stuff from time to time–gifts because we love you. But we will not mortgage the house to buy your love. We’ll teach you how to make and save money so that you can buy big things like cars, tuition, etc. We will not foolishly raise you to think that one is entitled to get what one wants whenever he wants it. This kind of raising breeds children who grow up to be in bondage to debt. We love you; we will do everything we can to help you learn about delayed gratification.
In fact, it is only in the absence of stuff, that it becomes easier to see other, more meaningful opportunities, find outlets for creativity and become productive, useful and fulfilled in society. That’s our desire for you.
I will pray for you, pray with you and immerse you in the teaching of our Lord. I will teach you each day, whatever I have to do, to love Him and fear Him, and in Him to “live and move and have your being”…for that is where you will find the good life.
Get When Motherhood Feels Too Hard, a must-read for mothers who want to live a full life on purpose!