Today my oldest daughter graduates from High School. To think that I am old enough to have an 18-year old daughter is rather surreal. It doesn’t seem that long ago that she was just entering pre-school. In fact, I still remember the first day of school when I dropped her off. I asked if she wanted me to come in with her, and she said, “Sure.” Once she saw the room, and the other kids, she looked at me and said, “I’m OK. Bye!” And off she went.
That was 15 years ago. This fall she is off to college. Where did the time go? Over the past few weeks, scenes like that have been playing over in my mind. It’s hard to believe that the little girl who used to crawl up on my lap and make funny noises with me while we watched Tim the Toolman Taylor now has her own car, and is making her own decisions.
Being that this is a blog about church tech, you may be starting to wonder if I’ve just gone all nostalgic today or if there is a point to this post. Well, yes. There is.
If you have kids, or are going to have kids, you need to know one thing; they will grow up. Don’t miss it. This is a challenge for us techie types because we are high-capacity, high in-demand workers with a tendency toward workaholism. You know it’s true. It’s really easy for us to spend many more hours at the church than we should because, “...we need to be there.”
Your kids are going to grow up. Don’t miss it.
I write this as someone who has varying degrees of success with this. At some points in my girls lives, I’ve been around a lot. There were many years when I was able to attend every school play and activity. But there were also more years than there should have been when I wasn’t really around much.
When my first company really started taking off, I missed a lot of dinners. When I first started working at the church, I missed a lot of dinners, and school programs, and just good old fashioned time together.
My kids are growing up. And I missed some of it.
I write this as a cautionary tale to you younger tech guys and gals. The church will always be there. There will always be one more project, one more thing that needs fixing, one more event to run, one more service to plan. You will never be finished. Ever.
But your kids are going to grow up. Once. Don’t miss it.
At this point in my career, I’ve achieved a fair degree of “success.” And that’s great. I wish I felt more “successful” as a parent. It’s not that I feel like a failure; to be sure, my girls are great and we have a very good relationship. My oldest is off to a wonderful Christian school in the fall (Vanguard; Go Lions!), and I have no doubt about her faith in Christ.
Still, I know I missed parts of her life, and I can’t get that back.
Don’t let your job, even for the church, rob you of your children’s childhood. You won’t get another chance. If you have kids, play the family card more often. And if your church won’t recognize the importance of that, find another job. The church that intentionally keeps you away from your family doesn’t deserve you. Yes, I just said that.
Your kids are growing up. Don’t miss it.