Over the last couple of months, I have noticed a trend on Facebook. At least it keeps reappearing through the posts of the 250 people or so that I have as friends. I have seen it in direct statements and posted under pictures. People have said something like this, “My children are my whole world.” The other option is a picture of their children with the caption, “My world in one picture.”
I admit the first time I saw it I was a little concerned. The second and third time I noticed it, my anxiety heightened. By the time I saw it the other day I decided I could no longer keep quiet. As a pastor, I see the problem this type of thinking causes in families and in people over the long-term.
1.It is not good for your relationship with God.
As a believer, God is your whole life. Nothing less. I fear we are living in a culture that has made children into an idol. (Read this post). Let me ask you: Are you more afraid of God’s disapproval of your decisions or your children’s? Do you give more time and money to your children’s programs than to the Lord’s work? Children are great, but they are not God.
2. It is not good for your relationship with your spouse.
I see this huge flaw in people’s marriage that takes 18 plus years to work itself out. One of the parents, or possibly both of them, put all their emphasis on their children. Then one day their child goes off to college and the marriage is empty. When making our children “our whole world” we can easily neglect our spouse and reap the long-term results of that failure.
3. It is not good for your children.
If you treat your child as the center of the world then don’t be surprised when they grow up to be self-centered, egotistical narcissists. Our children need to know that God’s will is primary, that marriage is important and that other people matter. I firmly believe that children need to know they are not the center of the world to grow up with a healthy view of themselves and the world around them.
4. It is not healthy for a parent emotionally.
Children will not give us everything we need in life. Every person needs adult friendships with mature conversation. We need people to challenge us and hold us accountable. We need to have people who mentor and teach us. Having strong relationships with other mature adults are vital to our overall emotional health. Many people spend every moment trying to make their child happy and they neglect themselves in the process.
I know a few people will read this and say, “Well, that is not exactly what I meant. I just meant my children are very important to me.” I understand. I have four boys and I love them all very much. I also understand that we need to be very careful about crossing lines that move us into destructive behaviors. When our life begins to put our children first in everything then the end result is never what we planned.