Monday, November 16, 2009

Reflecting On Sacrifice

While surfing through status updates of people I know on Facebook this morning, a Thanksgiving meme caught my eye. The meme asked: "What are you most thankful for?" and my friend answered: "Parents who sacrificed selflessly for their children."

And I immediately wondered if my children, when they become adults, will say the same for me.

I'm quick to recall the dozens of hours each month that I drive my kids to and from sporting events and school functions. And I'm good at counting the time and money spent on family vacations. I'm a concerned and active parent when my children are ill, and miss work now and again when necessary to care for them during times of sickness. It's true that our family enjoys a lot of time together, and the amount of time can be taxing--for them and for me. But the question remains:

Do I sacrifice selflessly for my children?

I'm notoriously good at finding time to be alone. I squirrel away opportunities for isolation often, enjoying the calm and quiet I need to rejuvenate after the stresses of work and life have overwhelmed me. I'm easily frustrated when that time is shortened, and can become angry when it's impossible to obtain. And to be honest, most times that access to quiet time is blocked is because of something I need to do for my kids.

Sacrifice has to be more than just doing for someone else. To sacrifice selflessly suggests to me a loving desire to do without for someone, simply because my doing without will enhance their quality of life in some manner.

Perhaps I don't act in a manner that is "selfless" toward my children, after all.

That has to change.


All Click said...

Great post.

How about this though: Would you, as a loving son, WANT your parents to sacrifice selflessly?

Sounds like you are already being a loving and attentive parent so is further sacrifice necessary, and what would that look like?

My mum sacrificed a lot for her kids and now that I'm older I really appreciate it but I wish she hadn't had to.

I think you can be selfless without sacrificing.

Also, by finding time to be alone and re-charge aren't you then more able to be a better parent rather than being a stressed out, sacrificing, super dad?

Paul said...

Excellent post.

I find myself struggling with the same questions a lot. I often feel guilty and selfish for wanting to do things on my own now and then. Everyone needs a little me-time now and then, but it's tough to find a balance between that and devoting time to your kids.

MountainLaurel said...

also, be thinking of what you are teaching your children. Everything you do and say is a lesson to them. By taking your alone time, you're teaching them that there doesn't need to be a constant din or constant activity. Should they wind up in my situation, in a strange town many miles from their hearts, they'll be much better suited to it than if they thought that their every moment needed to be filled with activity.

Read Me said...

I think children realize how much their parents sacrificed for them only when they have their own children and realize how much the parents have given up.