21 May Our American Idol(s)
If you are reading this because the title misled you and you were hoping to get my take on the American Idol competition that just wrapped, I hate to disappoint you. This has nothing to do with that. Actually, this is the first season of Idol that I have not watched. Mainly because I wanted to reclaim a few hours each week. Kudos to whoever won, by the way!
The Idol that caused me to write today is way more personal and way more dangerous.
When I speak to people, I will usually share with them that I am a follower of Jesus, a husband (of 16 years), and a dad to two wonderful daughters (pictured). In an ideal situation, those are in order of importance. I strive to put my relationship with Jesus above that of my wife, and my kids feel the most secure when I love their mother well. But, I wonder if #3 on my list is #3 on most people’s.
I am afraid that #3 on my list is #1 on a lot of people’s lists. Why? Because it sounds good to say things like, “my kids come first”. But, I can’t help but wonder how healthy it is.
I am sure this post will get me strung up like a piñata with everyone in line holding their sticks. I mean, look what happened to the news woman recently who was bashed for saying that her marriage came before her kids. There were more than a few people in line for her lynching.
Here locally, we had a vague threat written on the wall of the girls bathroom in one of our high schools. That threat caused attendance to plummet below 40% the next day in that school, and it rippled into all our other schools causing low turnout across the district. Long story short…that day, fear won. Something we promised ourselves we would not do on September 12, 2001. I remember that day. We stood in line to donate blood, we flew our American flags, we put magnets on our cars, and we all said we would not be ruled by fear! And we meant it!
So, how is that different than the school? We love our country, but it is not our idol. In the months following September 11th, you could not go anywhere without seeing “God Bless America”. On September 11th, even my atheist friends prayed. We were scared, we were angry, but we knew God was bigger than the threat of terrorists.
Has He shrunk? Or, have we elevated our kids above Him? You see anything that takes the place of God in our lives is, by definition, our idol. And, there are times where my kids seem to dominate my thoughts and my attention. But, I have to make a conscious effort to keep them in their rightful place. That last sentence sounded cold, but I had to say it.
Did you know the safest place for a child under the age of 13 when they are riding in a car is in the backseat? So, when you see my kids in the backseat, do you think I am a bad dad? Or, is it possible, that that is the place they are most secure?
You see, when I love God well, I learn the best way to take care of my daughters. And, when I love their mother well, their life becomes very secure. Mainly because, I have read the research. Most daughters will marry someone very similar in character to their dads. I want my girls to marry someone who will treasure them the way I treasure my wife.
Is it always easy? NO. But, very few things in my life that are important have ever been easy.
So, to fight the latest American Idol problem, I will do everything I can to keep my kids third. But, you will never convince them of this, because when they are in third, they feel like they are winning!