Sacrifice: “Something given up or lost”. Yet, when we sacrifice, we tend to gain something! As a parent I now understand more fully why Susie and I give up so much of our personal time and treasures for our children. The satisfaction and joy of watching our children become wonderful citizens and happy people is wonder and awe. It’s the common good that is the reward. Seeing others enjoy life more fully as a result of our sacrifice makes it all worth it. Giving up of our time, talents, and treasures is not something to be done in vain or for the sake of being nice. The ultimate goal is to gain something greater than that which was sacrificed. When I give of my time to help one of my children I gain greater respect as a father and discover a deeper love between us.
Helping our kids to understand this deeper level of sacrifice can help them to do things, not because we said that they ought to, but because they will gain happiness in their relationships with others and greater success in their lives. Goodness should be the goal of sacrifice – not affliction. True sacrifice is never pointless. A sacrificial person should expect to gain in the end at the expense of self and to the wealth of all.
“In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.” – Henry Ward Beecher
Here are a few ways we can sacrifice and win:
- Heart – Let someone go first.
- Mind – Give up some play time to practice an academic skill.
- Body – Help a family member with a chore that isn’t your own.
- Soul – Consider how your personal talents make you special to our community.
What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
Wonder, as a noun, causes appreciation, excitement, and sometimes absolute amazement. As a verb, wonder makes us want to know something more and to be creative. Consider the multitude of inventions that all started with the question, “I wonder what would happen if I …”. Great thinkers consider what might be possible with the improbable. Planes would never have flown, music would never have been sung, and bridges never built had somebody not wondered. Allowing and encouraging wonder let’s our children realize that a box only stores what already exists; thinking outside of the box let’s our imagination redesign the shape and size of our boxes.
- Heart – Share something wonderful and awesome about your family.
- Mind – Research an inventor and examine how they came up with an invention.
- Body – Sign up for a race.
- Soul – Provide quiet time for wondering. Turn off the electronic noise and wonder.
“Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel
“You only lose energy when life becomes dull in your mind. Your mind gets bored and therefore tired of doing nothing… Get interested in something! Get absolutely enthralled in something! Get out of yourself! Be somebody! Do something… The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.” – Norman Vincent Peale
“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Wonders never cease, as long as we never cease to wonder.” – Ziggy (cartoon)