Getting married and having kids didn’t come with a manual.
Because I grew up without a father, being a husband and a dad didn’t come easy. But one thing’s for sure – this was one endeavor I wanted to succeed in.
“Refuse to sacrifice family on the altar of success.”
This rang in my head since the first time I heard this statement.
During one semestral break, we took the kids out of town. With us were the Sy’s (Dennis, Thammie and kids), Marge, Teri and Bruce.
As a family, we often take the opportunity to take off when we can because schedules have been crazy these days. Even our kids are now ‘busy’ – from basketball to musical theater, Friday Night Youth services to piano lessons.
During one of our conversations over breakfast, Thammie asked me a question, “What are your core values as a family?” I really didn’t have a nice, carved out answer. I guess all these years Jenn and I have operated on instincts and never really wrote down our ‘core values’.
I know many have written books these type of stuff like Patrick Lencioni who wrote a book entitled “Three Big Questions For A Frantic Family”. I know that James Dobson have written a few books on these too.
While driving home, I thought about that question again and I began listing down guiding principles we worked with through the years as a family.
1. LOVE GOD.
If we can teach our kids to do this, then I feel we’re on the right direction. We desire to help them develop a relationship with God. We feel that that is the most important task we have as parents – to connect them with God.
We won’t be there for them all the time, but if they have a relationship with their Heavenly Father, then we know that they’ll be just fine.
2. LOVE FAMILY.
Respect. Compassion. Love for family.
I guess that’s why we invest (not spend) on family vacations though we have an old, ugly, clunky Crosswind.
Memories have been a priority for us. We may not have a lot to leave them in terms of inheritance, but memories through times together is definitely on the top of our list. Seeing my kids love each other and look out for each other is definitely another important one for us.
3. LOVE OTHERS.
Service. Empathy. We want to teach our family not to just think about themselves, which we already are are very good at. Life is really not about us.
It’s about God and the people He loves.
4. LOVE LEARNING.
With the influx of information today, the accumulation of it is no longer the key to success.
Everything is now ‘googlable’.
However, processing and filtering of information is now the name of the game. Critical thinking has never been as critical. If we are successful in inputing love for learning, then I feel they will accomplish what God has designed them to be and do.
I was oblivious to being a husband and dad. But thankfully, by the grace of God, I have learned from His Word and have been surrounded by shining examples who are neither perfect nor flawless yet live under the shadow of God’s radical love and God’s radical grace. For that, I am forever grateful.