Parenting: My responsibilities have changed

While sitting in the first few rows at my church, I once heard a guest speaker named Pastor Mark Driscoll say that this:

“…the longer someone is single, the longer they have to learn how to become selfish.”

My first thought as a College & Singles Pastor was “Oh man. They’re going to hate him. And probably me, too.”

But then I began thinking about my own life experiences. Pastor Mark’s statement was so descriptive of my own life as I looked back over the years. When I married Jennifer, my life & decisions suddenly involved two people in more ways than I could ever have anticipated. Our personalities rubbed off on one another. We learned to work together and live live side by side. The same is true now that we’ve had children! Roles shift, schedules adjust; life is different. It is good to embrace that and roll ahead! I’m not buying sports autographs and spending every other evening out with a bunch of guys. I have other priorities than my own career, my finances, my social life, and my friends. I have a family.

Look, I still have plenty of time with friends on my calendar, but I also invest energy into these little friends who sleep down the hall. I even brought my son to Opening Day of the 2010 MLB season; it was right before his first birthday and a great time! I was able to take him to a 2011 Dallas Cowboys preseason game, but I’m still working on permission to bring him to a December Buffalo Bills game. His mom has other designs…

Have your responsibilities changed as a parent? As a spouse?

7 responses to “Parenting: My responsibilities have changed”

  1. Daniel,

    I noticed a slow progression from when we first got married to where we are now with a 13 year old, an 11 year old and two 10 year olds. When we first got married, we still did things we wanted to do. Yes, Tommy was and always will be my first priority, but we were still somewhat selfish in our goals for life and our immediate needs. After that first one is brought home, it’s culture shock. This little, helpless ball of wonder is in control, all of a sudden. Tommy and I did the dance of role definition and responsibilities. I discovered in that first year of LIndsay’s life that God used her to save us from ourselves. It forced us to get serious about not only our spiritual growth, but training her. Having one baby will certainly push you out of being self-centered, but four in 3 1/2 years will almost make you forget who you were. It’s really a balancing act that only God can control using two committed people. You have to be committed to each other, to the family, but mostly to God. Without Him, I know we could not do it successfully.

    Now that they are older and becoming more independent, Tommy and I have a little more freedom, but not much. Now the friends come over more and there needs to be supervision, chauffeuring people around all the time, and still maintaining a healthy marriage. I believe God uses the family to help us not become so self-centered and to change our priorities, but to always have Him first.

  2. I have been married, widowed young, remarried and now mom of 2. I find my sympathy for my busy single friends to be very small (though I try, because I’ve been there twice!) I love this reminder of how good it is for the selfishness to extracted-even if quite unwillingly-from my life. How much greater to focus on my Jesus and others. It’s a daily, adventerous challenge, but thanks for giving me perspective — especially right before dinnertime!

  3. I can’t begin to describe how life changed after we had our first one. Having our second has been just as transformational! I remember holding our first child in my arms for the first time. So small, so tiny, so utterly dependent. A feeling came over me like a wave, I was totally overpowered by the sanctity of the moment. I knew that things had changed. Period.

    Boy Howdy, did they!

    This is how I try to prioritize my life (usually failing in the midst of it):
    1. Relationship w/ Christ
    2. Relationship w/ Wife
    3. Relationship w/ Kids
    4. Relationship w/ Church Folks
    Should I state again how horribly I fail at this?

    I’ve been told a couple of things that have turned out to be true in my experience. One was: “One of the best things you can give your kid(s) is a daddy that loves their mommy.” Another was: “Parenting gets harder as the kids get older. You just get better at handling it.”

    So far, the old men that told me these things have been right on the money.

    Tim Dahl

  4. Oh, one other thing!

    If the kids need anything after midnight, it’s my time baby! This is totally selfish, but I claim the time. If they start crying, then I get to get up an rock them, hold them, walk them around singing to them. When they finally fall back to sleep, I hold them for an extra 30 minutes or so just because I can. Some of the best daddy/child time I’ve found.


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