As I really began to think about the sermon I realized how much this applied to my life. While she used sports, my idol has been work. I have devoted so much time and effort to my improving my teaching, connecting to my students and creating experiences for them that I have made sacrifices. I have sacrificed my relationships with my family. I have given up participation in activities with the kids to grade papers or lesson plan. Connections to friends and extended family have been put on hold to maintain sanity at work. I love what I do, but I have put so much time and effort into it that I have lost out on opportunities to be part of my kids experiences with them as they grow and learn.
Yes Pastor Lori meant for me to take away the message that I am not connecting to God and I need to make an effort with that relationship, and I honestly think that if I work on that relationship, a lot of the other issues in my life will also become easier. My immediate connection however, was to think about my need to prioritize and live in the moment. The lessons I teach while important, cannot match the significance of coloring pictures or reading stories with my daughters. Grading papers while necessary cannot take the place of date night with my wife. Filling out paper work, or any of the other mundane tasks in education are NOT more important than sitting down for supper and listening to my kids tell me about their day.
Another Amazing event of this whole conversation is that I had been talking about my struggles this year with other teachers on Twitter, and a friend Kimberly Hurst @khurdhorst jumped into the conversation. She shared the video below that her Pastor presented to them today as part of their service.
When the lights go out, my life will not be about how well I wrote my SLO, my lesson plans, how quickly I returned homework, but its about relationships. My family doesn't care if I created a great class website, if I connected to all the Common Core Standards, if my school's report card is exceeds expectations. They care if I will push them on the swings, teach them to ride their bikes, give them extra hugs and kisses at bedtime, give them a piggy back ride, or make their favorite meals. And for my wife make time to talk about things other than the kids or work. For her I need to disconnect with the distractions of the world and plug into sitting on the couch and yes even cuddle while watching one of those romantic movies geared for women.
I am making progress on this, but I am sure my family would see it as very slow progress, but I am trying and determined to grow and develop my personal relationships because while they count on me for support and help, I rely on them to get me through. I spent the last two week nights trying to focus on spending time with them. I played follow the leader with my youngest daughter, and I wish I would have recorded the sounds of laughter filling the house. She was having so much fun she had the whole family laughing. I spent time listening to my oldest as she learned to play the piano. My wife and I were able to squeeze some time in there to talk and listen to each other, and I learned some new things about her that make me love and appreciate her more.
I am a work in progress and with the Lord's help and the patience of my family, I will continue to learn to be the person, father and husband I should be. I don't have answers for you, I just have finally opened up my heart to hearing the message the Lord has been trying to share with me.