Investing in Your Children

I have a financial advisor that oversees my retirement accounts. Occasionally, I’ll watch the chart tick up and down with the ebb and flow of the market, wondering if my investment will pay off.

On a personal level, I invest in myself. I read books, take courses, eat well, and join the gym.

On a spiritual level, I invest in a relationship with God. I read His Word, I journal, and I pray.

But, I’m reminded this morning of one investment whose dividends are a legacy of generations yet to come. Curiously, it is the very investment that I am most tempted to ignore.

This is an investment in my children.

Why Daddy?

If there are little people in your life, you’re familiar with the never-ending question:

Why?

Just the other day, I was getting ready for a long run. Before I left, I was met by a certain inquisitive three-year-old.

Where are you going, Daddy?

I’m going for a run, buddy. I’ve got to get ready for my race.

Can I come with you, Daddy?

Well buddy, I would love for you to, but you’re still a little too young.

Why Daddy?

Well buddy, you’ve got to grow up a little bit before you can run.

When I get older I’m going to race like you.

That sounds awesome! And I’ll be there cheering for you, Matthew.

In 2010, we saw our battle with infertility come to an end. Our family grew with the beautiful blessing of this special boy. Then, his twin brothers joined the picture just fifteen months later.

As the years have passed, the challenges of parenting have changed, almost with the seasons. What a pacifier or bottle could fix, now requires a completely different set of resources. Resources that I often seem to lack and tools I don’t often possess.

Truthfully, I’m impatient, unintentional, preoccupied, and selfish. All of those characteristics are things I’m ashamed of and I desperately don’t want my kids learning those qualities from me. But, when I assess my actions, those are the themes I see.

Take an assessment of your time and attention. Who gets more, your cellphone or your children?

You may have heard this ad-nauseum, but it doesn’t seem to be going away.

Additionally, there’s a certain pressure in this understanding; a pressure that brings about insecurities, fear, and shame. That pressure, if we let it, will crush us.

While this pressure can be crushing, we can also use it for good. We can force ourselves to become more intentional about our everyday life; remind ourselves to think through the little details.

During my run the other day, it hit me. Even when I don’t think I am leading my kids, I am. Even when I don’t think they’re watching, they are.

Everything I do matters.

By implication, everything you do matters as well.

So many times the whys of a three-year-old have a tendency to interrupt our pace of life, interfere with our agenda, and ruin our big picture. The whys can become annoying.

That is why we must change our perspective.

The whys aren’t an interruption, they’re an invitation. An invitation to invest in our sons and daughters.

Our children’s whys are a longing to learn. They are thirsting for knowledge.

If we fail, someone will invest in our children. A quick glance at popular culture today will prove that there are countless opportunities for our kids to learn from someone.

Who will it be?

I know these moments will pass by and years down the road a big picture will come into focus. Only in time, will we see the return on our investment—the adults our children have become.

That is why I will invest today and everyday.

And I’d challenge you to do the same.

MH

Questions: What special ways do you invest with your kids?  If you don’t have kids, are there young people in your life that you pour into? Please share in the comments below!

Three tips:

1. Use a Why to listen – Make the investment of time

2. Use a Why to teach – Make the investment of wisdom

3. Use a Why to learn – Make the investment in yourself

 

Be sure to connect with the Live Richly Community on Facebook

Matt

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  • Paul norris

    Absolutely Matt. You will realize this more than ever when they are older. As my oldest is starting to date, I am glad she can see “the big picture” of what a relationship and marriage should look like. They are paying attention even we do not think they are.

    • Yes they are Paul! Thanks for adding your thoughts!!

  • Laura

    Great thoughts, Matt. I love teaching the 3-4 year olds every Sunday. It’s such a joy to invest in the young children and see their hearts grow in a year!

    • Laura what a GREAT way to invest! We are so grateful for our Sunday School teachers. How long have you been doing that?

      • Laura

        Thanks! I’m halfway through my second year. I did it for a quarter and then my church started a new curriculum, The Gospel Project. It sounded awesome and I knew I wanted to keep serving the kids…they are so fun! I love it.

  • Debbie Sheneman

    This post and yesterday’s (enjoyed reading Liz’s thoughts on being “centered”) were great! I know being young parents is overwhelming at times but the years will fly by quickly. You and Liz are great parents, as God knew you would be! Keep leading them to Jesus. Love you all.

    • With his help we’re trying. House locked on a snow day is a test of patience indeed!!

  • This story warmed up my heart, since I have a little Matthew at home myself. They watch our every move. I feel so loved by them when I make mistakes and ask for forgiveness and they give me grace and a big hug. I also love it when they say they’ll be big like Dad or Mom. Those precious moments are what make life and hard work worth the effort.

  • Awesome story Matt. I love how you related back to your kid and how he looks up to you.

    While Pam and I don’t have kids, yet, there are plenty of young people we pour into. We’ve heavily invested in our youth group to the point some of the kids call us mom or dad.

    • Joe – as a youth leader, you know this all too well. In the case where their parents are investing in them, you simply reaffirm those truths. In the case where they are not, you are making the investment they need and they call you mom and dad. I simply love that!

      I’d love to hear some stories on how you’ve seen your investment yield returns!

      • For sure Matt. I think those that are struggling and don’t have a parent(s) who cares struggle the most and look for someone to invest in them. It’s amazing to see the change once people begin to believe in a student.

        There’s one guy who had come to our youth group for years. He’s still facing struggles but whenever we see him, you can tell there’s been an impact. He runs up, gives us hugs, tells us what’s happening (pretty honest stuff too), and just knows that we care.

        • That’s so awesome Joe! Continue that investment – it will ripple into eternity!!

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  • Hey Matt your story brought back many, many happy memories. My two children are now 19 & 23. I’ve loved every moment of those years. Both Hema & I look at them and see two strong young adults (boy & girl) who have a very real and active faith. Shannon finishes university this year & Alysha starts her course in early childhood development. Under God’s guidance I think we must have something right. PTL!

    • Rod, that is so encouraging to hear! How rewarding is it to see your and your wife’s investment compound in their lives?!

  • Leaders and people who are busy must still make time for their family. The time we spend with them is an investment into the future, for them. Thanks for a great post!

    • The first place you lead is under your own roof! Dan do you have kids?

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  • Great post. I wrote a similar blog post for my next newsletter about experiencing the birth of my son as an interference. I learned a lot through this experience and also that whatever we focus on is what we receive. If we start to understand and show understanding and respect to our children no matter how old they are, they will give the same back to us. I had to ask myself how I can integrate him into what I feel and know is my purpose instead of seeing him or what he does/ how he acts as an interference. Thank you for sharing.

    • It starts so young Isabel – so grateful you’re understanding these things now! It’s a constant challenge but one that pays dividends in a lifetime legacy.

      Thanks!

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  • Matt,

    I just found this post. Man, what a blessing you are. Don’t stop the ‘and.’

    Lee

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