My Greatest Parent Regret.

Posted: April 23, 2018 in Uncategorized

I was/am far from a perfect parent.

We only had one daughter, Delanie, who is now raising her own daughter.
Nobody gets a chance to really be perfect when it comes to raising another human. There are too many variables. Every kid is wildly different. You are dealing with messiness, emotions, personality, and outside influences.
It’s a tough job to be a parent.
Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you blow it.
Second guessing yourself becomes a competitive sport.
You have celebration and disappointment.
Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, there’s one I have to mention…
My greatest parent regret…
It’s not feeding my child unhealthy crap. As an elementary school student, Delanie was raised on a steady diet of Slim Jim’s, chicken McNuggets and cherry slurpees. Don’t judge us! She was a picky eater.
My greatest regret is not letting her watch questionable television…we had a neighbor who wouldn’t talk to us for a year because she found out that we did, in fact, let our daughter watch The Simpsons. Del also watched Titanic repeatedly and would dramatically act out the last scene with a pillow…”I’LL NEVER LET GO, JACK. I PROMISE!”
My greatest regret is not letting her stay up late. She was a night owl from the beginning. The girl likes to party.
My greatest parent regret is not encouraging her to be herself, express herself, and create stuff.  She started countless projects involving glitter, paint, and occasionally fake fur. She learned to think and stand up for herself. She cut her own hair as a 5 year old, along with the hair of everyone of her Barbies.
You know what, I don’t really regret any of that.
My greatest parent regret happened when Delanie was about 8 years old.
It was her second year of horse camp, she went with her friend, Sarah. It was a week long camp where kids stayed at a cool ranch and rode horses. Delanie was a serious mini-equestrian. On the last night, parents picked up their kids and the kids would put on a big program to display their cowgirl skills.
That is where the regret rushes in…
At the time, we were lead pastors of a messed up little church in Farmers Branch, Texas.
We hadn’t been there long, just long enough to piss some people off.
The church council called a meeting on the same night as the horse camp finale. They had concerns about my leadership, I had made some stupid decisions, I had started to make changes, and I had rubbed them the wrong way.
So they scheduled a meeting on the last night of horse camp.
They wouldn’t change it, and they demanded that I be there.
I allowed them to push me around.
I blew it.
On that night, I found myself sitting in a metal folding chair listening to hateful accusation.
I should have been sitting in wooden bleachers watching my daughter do what she loved.
Diana video taped the program and I watched it later that night.
Delanie rode out, loud and proud, on a beautiful horse. She was smiling…until she looks into the crowd…then she looks straight at the camera and says…
“Where’s Dad? Where’s Dad?”
I only watched the video once…
I didn’t need to watch it again.
It was permanently seared into my mind and instantly set on continual replay.
“Where’s Dad? Where’s Dad?”
This happened almost 2 decades ago, but the guilt keeps the memory from ever expiring…
“Where’s Dad? Where’s Dad?”
Dad wasn’t there.
He was in a meeting.
I was bullied into attending a church council meeting, with people who didn’t love me nearly as much as that little girl did.
In fact, they didn’t love me at all, AND they had put together a long list of everything that they DIDN’T love about me. They were trying hard to destroy me.
It was a very painful meeting and very painful season.
But, I couldn’t miss that meeting…
I chose to be there, instead of where I should have been.
After all, it was my ministry, my career, my dream…right?!
so very wrong.
That was the night that I really figured out that no destination (career, ministry, or dream) is more important than the people who are on the journey with you. The plan is for your family to be in your life long after the assignment has ended and the dream has died.
I believe my priorities are in order, I do put God first, but my family comes next. Before the ministry, career, or dream.
WHO God has entrusted me with is MUCH more important than WHAT He has entrusted me with.
WHO is eternal.
WHAT is temporary.
Sometimes, putting WHO before WHAT requires some creativity. I have to find ways to continually prioritize.
It’s worth it.
I will never regret it.
It’s not a popular stance.
I’ve been told by people that I worked for that I was blowing it because I put my family before the ministry.
I beg to differ.
I didn’t work at those churches for long.
You know what, I don’t regret that.
God calls Himself our Father, not our CEO, boss, supervisor, or even pastor.
He seems to be a Family Man.
I want to be like Him.

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