Did you know 100% of people on the planet are or once were a child? I am part of that 100%.
Let’s take a hop back to 1998, kiss your iPhones goodbye, your laptops, your iPads, and your selfie sticks…actually, you should just kiss your selfie sticks goodbye forever. ANYWAYS I’m a spry seven years old who goes to a private school in a Chicago suburb. Needless to say, I was all knowledgeable about everything in the world, or so I thought. My wittiness and business savvy got put to the test on one afternoon on the 1st-grade playground. I was up to bat during an intense game of kickball and was going against a kid who was notorious for throwing the ball bouncy as to coerce pop flys. I was 0-1 leading up to this at-bat, and I was determined not to kick and pop this ball up. His first pitch was bouncing higher than my head, and I laid off the pitch. ALWAYS LAY OFF THE FIRST PITCH IN KICKBALL!!!! (That’s the number 4 thing I want my future child to know) The second pitch was so far outside that it almost hit the teacher who was supervising recess. I was getting frustrated, so I sang out the famous taunt “We want a pitcher, not a…” but instead of saying belly itcher I said something far worse.
“We want a pitcher, not a belly bitch-er.”
OH MY GOSH! What have I done?
I looked around to see if any of my school mates or even worse, teachers had heard. I felt a sudden rush of fear when my classmate Joshua was staring at me with a face that was in utter horror.
“John, I heard that, and I am telling on you!”
I begged and pleaded that he wouldn’t tell! I mean I swore at recess at a Christian school, not only was I already on my way to the fiery abyss but if my mom found out what I did she would’ve beat me with a Bible that was open to Ephesians 4:29.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Finally, after what felt like hours of discussing a solution to this problem, Joshua and I worked out a trade. I would give him my nutter butter dessert, and in exchange, he’d keep my foul mouth a secret. I thought that was the last of it but turns out Joshua was much more business savvy than I was. He ended up blackmailing me every single day for the next week so he could have my tasty chocolate dessert. All of this to keep my shameful secret.
If I would’ve known better, I would’ve realized it’s much better to accept responsibility for my actions and to just tell on myself. Most of the time adults are way more lenient with you, especially when you say something as funny as “we want a pitcher, not a belly bitcher.”
With all of that said here are the three things I want my future children to know:
- You become the sum of the people you spend the most time with.
Parents, teenagers, and young adults alike can look back at phases in their life, and say “What was I thinking?” For me, this time was when I decided to dye my hair blonde because friends at school did the same thing and I wanted to be like them. The lesson here is that people you spend your time with will end up influencing you either for the good or the bad, that’s why it’s so important to pick your community carefully, or else you’ll dye your hair and look like a leopard.
- Own your piece of the pie.
This is a tough one for anyone to grasp no matter how old you are, but in certain situations to move on it’s important to own your piece of the pie and take responsibility. The simplest example of this is when we say our teacher doesn’t like us because we received a below par grade, all while failing to own our portion because we didn’t study or prepare for the class. This may seem like a little ordeal but in life when situations arise in which bad things happen to you, to move on it is important to pray and ask God what part you had to play in it. These lessons will not only help you move on, but they will help you be a better person when difficulty comes your way again.
- Who you’re becoming is more important than what you’re accomplishing.
This holds so true for everyone no matter what stage of life you’re in. People, as they get older, tend to lean on their degrees, awards, titles, and salary as a means of defining themselves. We hold up our cars, houses, and clothes as a snapshot of who we are, and we hope that it defines us as a person. But in life things are unpredictable, we can so easily be stripped of all our fancy titles, our houses can burn down, and we can crash our nice cars. What’s most important is the person we have built ourselves to be.
When I was working as a pastor in a large church, I had accolades and titles far as the eye could see. I was loved by people for my speaking ability and my overall outgoing personality. I was hypnotized by what I was starting to accomplish at a young age in the ministry world while putting who I was becoming on the back burner. I was accomplishing great things, but I was sacrificing who I was, I had been turning into an egotistical prideful maniac who was only concerned about his well being. My main concern was moving up the ladder in the church world to keep getting new positions, uncaring of the repercussions it had on others or even my soul. The fallout was horrible, once a trusted mentor pointed out to me that he saw my actions as selfish, I knew that others too could see I wasn’t such a bright and shining star like I thought I was.
People may look at the surface and see someone who is well accomplished and think of them as a great person. The issue comes to fruition when the people closest to you are the most disappointed in your actions.
In layman’s terms, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.
That’s why it’s far more important as to who you are becoming than what you are accomplishing. You can only hide behind your accomplishments for so long.
Matthew 6:19-21 ““Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”