What’s my priority in life? What’s the most important thing? When I die, what am I going to regret that I did or didn’t do?
I find my thoughts leaning this way lately, probably because of the New Year beginning, maybe because I’m in a pensive mood, or maybe because I’m in the midst of a midlife crisis, who knows.
There may be a misconception that I’m only a stay-at-home Dad because I can’t find a job. That’s somewhat true, but the reality is that if I weren’t the stay at home parent, my wife would be. She just happened to find the job outside of the home first, and I haven’t been able to find one as good. If I do, the roles will reverse.
Sometimes people might say, “Oh, that’s so nice that you can homeschool. That’s so lucky that you can have one parent stay at home with the kids.”
While that may be true in the sense that we are blessed that my wife has a job that makes (mostly) enough to cover all the bills, the reality is that we have to sacrifice a lot to make this happen (and it doesn’t always happen). I won’t go into it, but I’m sure you can imagine the many things we are not able to do because of our choice to have four children and have a parent stay at home with them. I guess it’s obvious that we don’t really see these peripheral things as being that important to us. Otherwise, perhaps we would make different life choices.
It all comes down to priorities.
This is the way it is for most people, I know. For the people who take family trips every year or invest in a large house or put in an in-ground pool or send their kids to private school, that’s their priority, that’s where they feel their family will benefit. I would not say to them, “Wow, you are really lucky” to do that. Those people have worked hard to make those things happen. And I’m sure they had to sacrifice things in life to do that.
I’m not a resolution type of person, but if I were, I would say that this year I want to make sure that I’m making the choices and choosing the priorities that are the best for my family. My wife and I have to ask ourselves, what will benefit our children the most? What do they need? For, if they were given to us, the expectation is that we must find out what they need, what will help them grow, what will make them thoughtful, caring, God-honoring adults.
What’s most important for a kid?
Is it putting them to bed at 7:00 or spending more time with them? Is it sending them to an institutional school or homeschooling? Is it being in gymnastics or playing on a soccer team? Are academics more important than learning empathy and compassion?
The battle for The Most Important Thing is constantly at play. My goal is to honestly and continually challenge myself to make the best decisions that I can at the moment that will hopefully set a foundation for our children that will carry them into the future.
Scott Keen is the author of three young adult fantasy novels, Scar of the Downers, Rise of the Branded, and War of the Downer King.