Have you noticed something over the last year or two on your social media feeds?
We seem to be a little over the top obsessed with our kids.
Sometimes, our kids’ first appearance on social media happens about 8 weeks after conception…on the ultrasound image.
Often, that’s followed up post-birth with almost incessant Instagram posts of whatever the-cutest-thing-to-ever-walk-the-earth is doing this hour (but you don’t understand, she is the cutest thing to ever walk the earth!).
Once they hit school, we parents learn to master the humble brag, showcasing awards, accomplishments and trophies. It’s a brag for sure, but it’s humble because we do our best to showcase the kids, leaving the ‘clearly this child must have awesome parents’ part to be inferred.
All of this makes me kind of glad we didn’t have social media when I was a kid. It would have been awkward for my parents to showcase the ‘thanks for showing up’ ribbons I seemed to specialize in.
I’m worried that we’ve started to worship our kids. As in, there’s nothing more important in the world right now than my child, and her happiness and her success. I’m so infatuated, and I want everyone to know it.
If that was even remotely true, it might be telling us something.
It might be telling us that our children and their success (even their tremendous success in memorizing bible verses and loving youth group) have become as important to us as parents as God is. Maybe…(maybe)…even a little more.
The reality is that our children were designed to worship, not to be worshipped.
And as parents, you and I were designed to worship God, not our kids.
Not even our spouse (I know, I realize you’re way past that).
Another strange truth.
People who get worshipped turn out weird.
Take celebrities for example. Stars frequently end up imploding or developing weird habits, like eating cockroaches, opening doors with their elbows or brushing their teeth with strawberries. (Wish I was making those habits up…if you’re curious, Google will take you there.)
I have a theory on why famous people end up weird: they weren’t designed to be worshipped. And unsure how to handle it, they twist under the pressure.
Our kids weren’t designed to be worshipped either. Not by their parents, not by anyone.
They were designed to worship.
It’s fine to post pictures of your kids and of your family. Seriously. But for the right reasons.
And when your kid doesn’t turn out the way you hoped, this perspective kind of takes the pressure off doesn’t it? We don’t have to have the cutest-smartest-most-accomplished child on the planet.
Keep pointing your kids–and you—to a Saviour who’s completely worthy of our worship.
Carey is the lead pastor of Connexus Community Church, a growing multi-campus church near Toronto and strategic partner of North Point Ministries. Prior to starting Connexus in 2007, Carey served for 12 years in a mainline church, transitioning three congregations into a single, rapidly growing congregation. Carey writes one of the most widely read Christian leadership blogs today. He is the author of “Leading Change Without Losing It” and co-author of “Parenting Beyond Your Capacity” with Reggie Joiner. He and his family live in Ontario, Canada. Find Carey on his blog or follow him on Twitter @Cnieuwhof.