Do your children appreciate your sacrifice?

One morning 12 year-old Sarah heard a noise outside her window. The animals were making a racket. She heard a low growl – it was the bear again. Mother had scared it off last time with the rifle, but she could not chase the bear into the woods and leave the house unprotected. But, this time father was home. She heard the rifle fire. They were safe.

Joshua, eight, helped his father load up the wagon. He would be gone two or three days. The lower pasture land needed plowing for Spring planting. Joshua was waiting for the day when he could go too, like his older brother, and spend the night out near the field. Mother would remain at home transitioning the house from winter to spring.

Both Sarah and Joshua had vivid memories and images of the things their parents did to protect them. In some ways their memories were no different than from other families of their day. But still, there was the very real sense that without father and mother the children would not survive.

Fast forward 150 years, not that much time really. But for the most part, fathers don’t battle bears and plow tough fields filled with rocks. Mothers don’t practically rebuild homes and were master food processors. Today, dads and moms wield spreadsheets and power points and run a sophisticated transportation service. Potential enemies lurk in the mailbox and on the edges of cyber space. Food is found in the fridge, not in the field. Heat comes from turning a dial, not burning wood.

The image of taming a monthly budget does not evoke the same emotions as killing a bear on the back porch. Yet both require sacrifice, discipline, hard work and faith in God.

Let your children know what you do everyday. As much as you can, make them a part of your routine. Help them to grasp what the challenges of your life are. Include them in your prayers for God’s care. I am not suggesting bragging and I am not saying this angle is the only concern about children not appreciating their parents. But I do believe it one important factor to consider.

Your children are no different than those of long ago. They wanted to know what their parents did and why. Those parents reminded their children of the amazing things God had done for them. Incorporate the story of God’s mercy into your life. You have stories to tell that equal that growling bear on the porch.

“In the future your children will ask you, ‘What is the meaning of these laws, decrees, and regulations that the Lord our God has commanded us to obey?’
“Then you must tell them, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his strong hand…”
Deuteronomy 6:20-21

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