For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:21
He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly. – James Allen
Parenting, in general, requires sacrifice. Purposeful parenting mandates intentional sacrifice. With purposeful parenting there is an end goal in mind. Whether it originates with the parent or the child, there is an end goal. Take sports for example. I know parents who have spent an inordinate amount of time, energy, and resources on trainers, home equipment, competitions all over the country, etc. so their child could realize a dream of competing at the highest level. And for most, it paid off. Though the majority didn’t make it to the professional leagues, most got full scholarships to top college programs. The parents’ examples illustrate intentional sacrifice. They were responding to their children’s desires and goals to become top athletes. Their children’s successes were not haphazard. The two quotes above epitomize the parents’ efforts. They put their treasure (time, energy, resources) where their heart is (the child).
When I told my friend I was writing a blog series and shared with her some of my ideas, she insisted I write about sacrifice. She emphasized that parents need to understand the meaning exemplified in the James Allen quote (i.e., sacrifice a little and you will accomplish a little, sacrifice more and you’ll accomplish more, sacrifice greatly and your success will be great).
I’m reminded of a time when I bumped into the mom of our daughter’s former classmate. She knew our daughter had transferred to a private school. In remarking about the cost she said, “You could have bought a new car with that tuition.” Our heart isn’t a new car. In fact, we haven’t bought a “new” car since we’ve had children. Our heart is our children, so we put our treasure in them. And it requires many sacrifices, sacrifices we choose to make so that they can attain greatly. And guess what, God blesses it. We have not lived miserable lives because of our sacrifices. Quite the opposite, ours is a wonderful life.
If you have problems sacrificing for your child but not for other things, especially material things, then you might need to do some soul searching. Sometimes we make poor choices and bad decisions based on unhealthy experiences or behavior that was modeled for us. When trying to justify a decision not to sacrifice for a child, I’ve heard parents make statements like, “Well it was good enough for me, so it’s good enough for her”. That statement reduces the parent and the child. In those instances, “Good enough” isn’t good enough, not for your child, not for yourself, not for your family or your community. Relinquish small thinking. Decide to set a new trajectory for your child and family. Make the necessary sacrifices to give your child advantages and put her on the road to realizing her full capabilities. She’s worth it.
Vice President Joe Biden said at the Yale 2015 commencement, “[…] my dad’s definition of success is when you look at your son and daughter, and realize they turned out better than you […]”
Believe me, they’re worth it!
Next month’s topic is Relationships.