This is part of an ongoing series I’ve been writing over the past year. Click here to see the previous post.
When I was in junior high/high school, I began to realize a secret desire to see myself in pictures. I would go through the year book counting how many times I appeared (admission: not very often). When facebook entered my world I delighted in the possibility of sharing pictures of myself. I knew it was vain, but we’re all a little vain in our own way.
Then came our little boy. Before I realized it, I was more concerned about how many pictures I was taking of our son rather than myself. I was willing to fade into the background and let my son shine. Maybe part of this is simply growing up and eschewing the vanity of youth. But I think I’ve seen this in other parents and I believe I know the reason why: kids make us humble.
To be a parent means you must sacrifice. A key part of giving yourself up is humility. Those who struggle the most with parenting are those who have a hard time putting the needs of others above their own. Of course, every parent struggles with this on some level, but those who rise above do so on the wings of humility. They may have goals and dreams they aspire to, they may have jobs or hobbies, but in the end they’ll do whatever needs to be done for their family. I don’t think kids understand the effect their existence has on their parents. They take advantage of humility for selfish wants. But someday, if they have kids, they’ll hopefully realize this truth and gain a deeper appreciation for what their mom and dad sacrificed.
I see my son’s humbling influence in more than just my vanity. My self-control must improve, my patience increase, my time management become tighter, and so on and so forth. Success in these areas begins with humility. It’s not easy to do, but it is doable. Maybe it begins by directing your focus less on your own exposure and more on your child’s.