If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been traveling a bit more lately. From Canada to London to Pittsburgh to Orlando…the last few weeks have been a bit crazy. So, one of the more common questions I’ve been asked is this: “How do you parent your kids with such a crazy schedule?”
Well, keep in mind, when our kids were little, we simply couldn’t travel as much. And when we DID travel, it was definitely “Mommy & Daddy time.” (See the blog on “Surviving Young Kids” here
But now that our kids can help us actually assist us in DOING ministry, it’s really getting fun.
For example, two weeks ago, I dragged my son to Experience Church in Calgary. Of course, he was thrilled about the idea of going into their kids ministry to learn how they did it. Then, this last week, I dragged my daughters to England. Substance Variant (our DJ worship band) was debuting our first music video at NewDay festival – and if you haven’t seen it, click here
But I was so proud of my daughter Lijah (@lijahhaas on Insta). She got up and did a complicated DJ routine in front of 7000+ of her
NewDay Festival Main Stage
peers – which honestly took a LOT of guts. And after I preached, she took the stage with Substance Variant and gave these Brits a bit of the Substance experience. And after I shared the story about my other daughter, True’s vision of Historic Wesley, many people kept coming up to her for prayer (@truehaas). And it was delightful to watch her shower people with kindness.
Looking back on these last few weeks, the highlight wasn’t speaking and performing to a giant sea of people; rather, it was doing it alongside people I love. It was watching my loved ones serve God’s people with their gifts. And watching God bless them in return.
But I’ve noticed that a lot of people never experience this joy unless they painstakingly prioritize parenting and church involvement over the never-ending opportunities that are marketed at us. And what do I mean by this?
For starters, I’ve always made sure my kids had a ministry at church. Did they always like it? No. Like most kids, they complained… a LOT. There were seasons where they didn’t know where they fit. They struggled with friends. And it took hundreds of conversations…explaining the need for Christian friends and servanthood. They needed to wrestle with the value of putting Gods Kingdom first. And yes, even when our kids ministry got truly amazing, they still complained about getting up.
In some ways, much of parenting is simply having the energy to stand firm when your kids whine. And when they get older, this can require a bit more artful negotiating. But once they owned the church for themselves, they’re now walking in a whole new level of blessings. They don’t need me to convince them anymore.
But as another tip, I’ve always tried to have a few hobbies in common with each of my kids. And yes, many times, those common interests were strange and awkward for me to acquire. Our common interests have constantly changed and evolved – from Minecraft to YouTube shows to now, writing music and DJ-ing.
But the important part is that we’re logging hours, wrestling with values, and having fun together.
Research shows that “quantity of time spent with your kids” is THE SINGLE greatest predictor of child outcomes. Yet, we live in a world that’s constantly pressuring us to drown our children in a long list of extracurriculars – sports, academics, arts… basically “good things” that often crowd out the the single greatest thing your child needs most: YOU.
Don’t allow good to become the enemy of great. Any activity that decreases your child’s interaction with you is likely something that needs to be seriously scrutinized.
So here’s how to think about it: If life was a juggling act, and each ball represented a different aspect of your life… careers, friends, & opportunities are like rubber balls. If you drop them, they always bounce back.
And although your kids, your marriage & your health FEEL like they bounce back as well, over time, you find that they’re ACTUALLY a lot more like glass… when you drop them, they chip, they crack, and some even shatter. And many parents don’t realize this until it’s too late.
But how do we prevent this?
Just be intentional to put your marriage, your kids, & your personal walk with God first. Time and intentionality change everything.
But to get practical: if you were to do one thing (in a valued relationship) that would make 60% of the difference, what would it be?
Write out your thoughts. Be as detailed as you can.
But, let me tell you, the joy and delight from investing in relationships is ALWAYS greater than money, opportunities or professional success.
So don’t waste your life learning this the hard way. Amen?