Family First


We hear it time and time again, “My family comes first. My family is the most important thing in the world to me. It’s God first and then family”. On and on the little clichés go, but I ask you, “When was the last time you enjoyed playing with your kids as much as washing your car, cleaning your house, painting a picture, or listening to your favorite song?”

Whew, you take a deep breath; it’s probably been a while.

The other night my wife and I were sitting enjoying our “after little child goes to bed quiet time” and I was reflecting on my activities earlier that day with our “older child” though he’s 18. Kevin loves to rough house with me. I’ll be sitting reading, watching TV, etc., and he’ll come in and lay himself across my lap, put his face in mine, squeeze my hand, just basically be annoying. I’ll ignore him, push him away, tell him to leave me alone in my absolute most threatening nonthreatening voice and then he’ll go to his room for about five minutes before he comes back for another round. After about three rounds of this I usually throw my book at him, jump up and he scampers to his room and jumps on his bed. Remember, he is 18. At this point I come rushing into his room, yelling, waving my arms and jump on top of him. Invoking my best WWF Randy “the macho man” Savage impersonation I rough him up. Jump on him, knuckle him in the ribs, drag him off the bed , and twist him up real good. He’s a strong kid but he can’t come close to getting me.

During this entire time he is yelling, laughing, moaning out in mock pain, and usually always says, “Wait, wait my glasses!” I yell back, “Take em off cause I’ll beat a four-eyed sucker like you, glasses or not,” and the mock violence continues. Typically Marley and Kristi are howling or shaking their heads in the other room as they listen to our escapades. Honestly, I love the activity as much as Kevin though I feign mock disgust as I leave the room after giving him his weekly beating. It’s usually once a week, sometimes twice mostly just depends on his need to connect.

What I realized is that when Kevin first begins to pester me I really don’t want to be bothered. Let me say that again. I am not just sitting and waiting to have play time with my son. I am trying to zone out, have usually been writing for hours, and I want to do nothing more than fry my brain maybe take a nap. I REALLY DO NOT want to be bothered. It actually takes him getting after me at least three times before I am prompted into action. However, during this time I am also being very mindful of my own internal process. I am watching my breathing, my thoughts, my window of stress tolerance and that keeps me from doing what my father did.
When we are tired, we are tired. We want to be left alone to relax and calm down. But guess what? WE HAVE KIDS! And if we didn’t want to meet their needs, engage with them, teach them how to play, how to feel loved, then we SHOULD NOT have had them! But we did. Family first.

Challenge those old patterns that keep you from family first every day. Be aware of them with constant awareness and mindfulness. Before you know it, “leave me alone Kevin, I’m working” can avoid potentially (Leave me alone, I said I’m working) stressful event may actually turn into (Boy, I told you to leave me alone) a great opportunity for laughter and love.

Gotta go give some boy a smack down!

Choose Love,