Wednesday, November 3, 2010

day 292: sacrificing time, money, energy, hobbies—and more---for effective parenting, part i of ii

We recently watched Disney’s wonderful new movie, “Secretariat.” Such a great movie---well done, superbly-acted, exciting, and, at times, heart-wrenching. The last few moments of the movie left us spell-bound. The ending just made you want to stand and cheer right there in the movie theatre!

However, there were some extremely bothersome points in the movie—some that our teen sons brought up on the way home without us even mentioning them. There were some little things that bugged me as a Christian parent—emphasis on winning over relationships; animals before people; the parents’ lack of knowledge about their teenage daughters’ activities, and more.

But most importantly, and for the subject of today’s blog post, I was bothered by the mother’s preoccupation with the ranch and the horse over her duties as a parent (and wife) to four children, who were approximately ages eight through fourteen when she first began working with “Big Red.” (The entire process, from her acquiring the horse to its Triple Crown winning, was about four years—which is the time period the movie followed. Of course, he went on to win many, many more races after that.)

Now, keep in mind that the movie was about the horse, so it could be that Mrs. Tweedy wasn’t so much more devoted to the horse and ranch (which was located in another state away from her family home) than she was to her family—but the movie focused on her involvement with the equine, so perhaps she was doing both things well. However, there were many points in which she seemed indifferent to her husband and children and completely enamored with her “hobby” (albeit, multi-million dollar one).

During the four year period in which she groomed “Secretariat” to become the champion he did, Mrs. Tweedy was portrayed as ignoring her family, not coming home for weeks at a time (the horse was an airplane flight away from her family) when her husband and children needed for her to, not knowing that her daughter was becoming a “hippie,” missing her children’s activities, etc. This leads me to a question I would like to discuss on this blog—and get our readers thinking about.

Is it possible to do something so big, so involved, so consuming during our children’s formative years and still be an effective, available Christian mom (or even dad)? I think of people who are extremely successful actors or actresses, CEO’s, political leaders, and others who average seventy to eighty work hours each week. How can they parent too?

Sure, if we make enough money, we can hire drivers, maids, housecleaners, errand runners, cooks, and more. We can even hire nannies and babysitters. But we can’t hire parents—no matter how much money we make.

Stay with us…don’t tune us out, please! Join us tomorrow for another discussion of this topic. As Christian parents, we all truly need to evaluate our availability to our children.

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