Attendance Does Not Equal Good Parenting

This will be a little controversial, but if you know me, I don’t necessarily mind that.

Many parents, let me rephrase that, thousands of parents go to their kids football, baseball, soccer, etc. games all the time, every day. It seems like on countless SportsCenter specials I’ve seen an interview with the parent of a kid talking about how they “never missed a game.” Now while this is commendable, and I by no means am trying to rain on anyone’s parade, and in most cases in America, we need more parental involvement, not less, I want to offer a slightly different perspective to some who are trying their best to parent their kids.

I was blessed to have two parents who are still married today, attend as far as I can remember, most every activity that I did. Sports, band (I don’t want to hear any ugly band nerd comments:), spelling bees (same goes for this one), field days, concerts and what not. They drove me all over the place and all over our little town. Honestly, I don’t remember if they went to everything I did, but I know that they made it a priority to go to most of it.

Here’s what I’m getting at. I think that we as parents need to go to our kids soccer games and concerts and all that fun stuff. We should not miss those moments. Our kids want to be supported, they need to know that we accept them regardless of how they perform and they need to know that they are a priority in our lives.

But here is where I see the danger. Sometimes I feel like parents wear the “I’ve never missed a game in my entire life badge” like it validates them for being a good parent. Unfortunately, parenting is a lot more than just attending things. I want to suggest that sometimes, if we actually go to every single event that our kid does, it could actually be a harm to him or her.

I think its important that I as a parent raise my kids to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Sometimes, my job may get in the way, I may have to be out of town, there may be a moment that something literally has to be done right then and I won’t be able to attend a certain event. I think that in small doses this is healthy for our kids. They need to know that all of the planet does not stop to watch them kick a ball back and forth.

I am by no means using this to abdicate my role as a parent but to challenge all of us as parents to really check our motives. We need to find the balance of raising great kids, being good parents and being excellent in what we do.

So in conclusion, should our kids be a priority? Absolutely! Should we use them as an excuse to not be excellent in what we do? I don’t think we should. Simply attending every event that our kids participate in at the detriment of other priorities in our lives is unhealthy for us and them.

God has given us multiple stewardships in our life and we have to figure out how to steward them all.

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7 thoughts on “Attendance Does Not Equal Good Parenting

  1. Thank you for absolving me of my guilt. 🙂 I totally agree with you. I grew up with parents who were at everything I did (and I was involved in a LOT) so I’ve struggled with feeling like I need to do the same. But I believe, like you, that in a way it does teach our kids that everything revolves around them. I also feel like it’s really important that we don’t just support our kids in what they do, but that we model what life will look like for them. I think it is important that they see me make their Dad a top priority and that they see how I handle all aspects of life from work to church to my social life. We do seem to be very extreme in our society in that we either ignore and neglect our kids or we almost make them idols in our lives. So, this was my really long way of saying I agree with you. 🙂

    • Yeah, I agree Emily, especially on the priority of your spouse point. Its sad to see many parents get divorced when the kids leave the house. If you build your family around your kids, your marriage will stink.

  2. Well written Ross. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I think it is so important that we have balance in this area. As someone who was involved in performing arts early in my childhood I struggled with a “performance complex”. So much emphasis was put on the performance that it sometime felt like that was the only thing that mattered. My value was attached to what I did performance wise rather than who I was. This was by no means my parents intention and they did demonstrate love beyond the events, but internally a mental attachment formed between my value and a performance. Though I’m sure I will want to be at all my kids events to support and enjoy I want to make sure I don’t put too much weight on an event rather than helping them understand their overall value and placement in the big picture.

  3. Ross, thanks for this post.

    I think one important additional piece to remember is communication. Do you have to miss an event? Let your child know in advance, if possible. When it’s done, make sure to follow up with them and ask them how it went. Ask a lot of questions. Did it go well? Rejoice with them. Did it go poorly? Give them a huge hug.

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