This post was originally written for a blog my church publishes for our volunteers. The blog helps the volunteers as they learn how to be leaders in different areas of their lives, especially with the kids they serve in our ministry.
I have a handwritten Post-It note on my desk at home that says, “What your kids really want is YOU.” I put it there six years ago, when Katie was about three years old. I was getting caught up in the culture of “buy more and go bigger.” I mistakenly thought I should show my love to my child by giving her everything she wanted. What I quickly realized is giving her everything she wanted left me broke! And it just left her wanting more. There would never be enough STUFF to fill the desires of her heart.
I was reading a parenting book and came across that quote, “What your kids really want is YOU.” It hit me upside the head and reminded me Katie wanted to be with me, not a fuzzy-headed dolly. She wanted me to read books to her, not plop her in front of the television. She wanted a walk around our neighborhood, not isolated playtime in the basement. She needed a sit-down-home-cooked-meal kind of love, not a drive-through-speed-by-never-slow-down parent. She needed me to be present in her life.
This past Sunday in Team Time, we talked about being present in the teams we serve on at The Crossing. It means showing up: predictably, mentally, and randomly. What does being present look like? You give your word and you stand by it. You don’t cancel unless there’s an emergency. You commit and sometimes you make a sacrifice to see that commitment through. When you show up, you engage in conversation. You look people in the eyes when they are talking. You smile and you listen. In short: you treat others the way you want to be treated!
Love consistently, interact often, and give lavishly, because the bottom line is this: what your kids really want is YOU. The same thing applies to your significant other, your boss, your siblings, your parents, your best friend, and God too. They all want your presence, not a fuzzy-headed dolly to play with. Not a drive-through meal. Be present and show your heart to others. Engage and enjoy!