The Most Important Thing

CroyleMaking your priorities clear.

By John Croyle

I’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk with some very unique people over the course of my life—sports icons, political figures, celebrities—moms and dads all just trying to survive this journey we call parenthood. I have seen many who have chosen wisely. Unfortunately, I have also met many parents who have chosen poorly.

Recently, I met with a couple who have a young preadolescent who is giving them a very hard time. In reality, this 8-year-old is running their house. They were asking for specific answers to questions they have about the proper techniques to raising their child.

We talked for quite a while and covered a lot of ground that I hope will be beneficial to them and their son. I know it will be if they apply some of the things we talked about. In reality, I’ve had 2,000 professors (our children) teach me what I know. I have said so many times and believe completely that a man with experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.

As we were winding down our time together, I asked them, “If you had to choose between your child and your wealth, what would you do?”

The mom looked at me without hesitation and said, “My son!” The dad just looked at me with a blank stare. It sent cold chills down my back. His silence was deafening. By saying nothing, he made a loud and clear statement. His wealth was more important to him than his own child. In my mind, we had pinpointed why the young child was behaving the way he was.

You cannot fool your child. They know how you feel about them simply by the way you treat them, their siblings, and their friends. Moreover, they know by the way you treat your mate in front of them. Sometimes they learn more about how you feel about them when you don’t think they are watching or paying attention.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Does my child know, believe, and feel they are of the highest importance to me?

2. Can my child stand before anyone and say with confidence, “I know I am more important than anything to my mom or dad”?

3. Could my child name something in my life that is more important to me than he or she is?

These three questions are simply a starting point for you as a parent to evaluate how your child views their place in your life and in your heart. Number three might be a question you will want to ask your child. Obviously, you can’t ask your 1-year-old. But addressing this with an age-appropriate child might be a surprise to you or an affirmation that you are on the right track.

We have all heard the statement “only a fool keeps doing the same thing repeatedly expecting a different result.”

Do not wait until your child is grown to address these issues! Do it now while there is still time for you to concretely reaffirm within your child’s heart, mind, spirit, and soul that they have a preeminent place in your life and in your heart. They absolutely must believe and know there’s nothing above them other than God and your mate.

May you and I take this year to make any necessary changes in our lives in order to get our family moving in the right direction. It’s never too late to get back on course!

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