Families seem to be falling apart left and right. All around us.

It’s impossible for me to separate myself from my ministry of Celebrate Kids. When I read the news and hear the news, I filter it through my heart for children and parents.

A reality star who divorced her husband because he had an affair recently said, “We’re putting the kids first.” Perhaps if he had put them (and his wife) first, they wouldn’t be getting a divorce. Can we believe he will put them first now when he didn’t choose to before?

Dean McDermott, husband of Tori Spelling, recently admitted to cheating on her. Friends said, “Tori and the kids are his life.” Really? It seems to me that if they were his life, he wouldn’t have had an affair.

Philip Hoffman recently lost his life due to an addiction to heroin. In several articles about his life and acting career, it was reported that he was a good dad who enjoyed his children. Several friends reported he was “deeply committed to his children.” How much more commitment would it have taken for him to end his addiction?

I don’t ask these questions lightly. And, I’m not dismissing the addictive reality of illegal drugs or the pull beautiful women can have on men. I’m just sad.

Do others of us throw around phrases lightly like “I’m devoted to my family”? Do you say you are? Are you? How would your family know you are?

What about “My kids mean everything to me”? Do you say that’s true of you? Is it true? Saying it’s true and having it be true are two very different things. If I asked your children, would they say it’s a true statement for you?

What does devotion look like? What does it look like when others mean everything to us?

  • Sacrificing. Shifting priorities.
  • Spending time, but not always spending money.
  • Wanting to know them. Knowing them.
  • Wanting to be with them. Being with them.
  • Wanting to help them. Helping them.
  • Choosing to be interested in what they’re interested in.
  • Asking if they’d like to be interested in what you’re interested in, but not forcing them to be.
  • Saying “I love you” and backing it up with loving actions.
  • Doing “I love you” and backing it up with loving language.
  • Loving them unconditionally. How much you like them may shift with their choices, but your love is solid and unchanging.
  • Being optimistic and full of hope.
  • Having an appropriate definition of right and wrong and modeling and teaching it.
  • Willingly, consistently, and promptly affirming obedience.
  • Willingly, consistently, and promptly correcting wrong choices, not so they feel bad about themselves, but so they can improve and feel better about themselves.
  • Being a compassionate, full-of-grace, and safe person.
  • Being a truth talker and wisdom walker.
  • Having your words and actions line up. For example, if you say God and church are important to you, others should be able to tell they are by how you spend your time, what you talk about, and what you hope for them.
  • Knowing yourself well and humbly recognizing when you’re stressed and anxious. Getting help for yourself. Doing the hard work that may be necessary.
  • Taking care of yourself, emotionally and physically, so you’re healthy and able to take care of those you say you love.

What do you think? Is this list encouraging or discouraging? What would you add to my list? What from my list will you work on this week? Would you courageously talk with your family about this topic? Making a list that fits you and your family could be a very productive activity. I’d love to know if you do this and how it turns out. Bless you for reading this and being open to my thoughts.

[callout]Every Monday, I’ll post about discovering genuine hope and authentic answers for living a healthy life.[/callout]