Being of service and helping others is one of the greatest feelings in the world, and it can be extremely rewarding. That being said, it can also be a source of distraction from other tasks that maybe don’t feel as good–yet are equally, or even more important– such as child rearing, when our children aren’t appreciative or are having a difficult time.
When my son had his bar mitzvah, I told my father (may he rest in peace) that my entire life, I ran away from him because I didn’t want to be like him, and I didn’t want to not be like him–in case he was right. Little did I know, I would end up doing exactly what he did, just for a different population; he gave unconditional love to Jewish youth, and I give unconditional love to people who suffer.
A few years later, I changed it to: “Dad, now I get it, you received unconditional love from Jewish youth, and I receive it from people who suffer”.
This taught me a huge lesson. It reminded me that it’s possible to get lost in service and to help too much. It’s possible to put ourselves out there so much, we begin to shirk our responsibilities to our families, to our children, and to ourselves.
I’m not suggesting that my father wasn’t present. Instead, I’m suggesting that being of service is a struggle for me, and provides me with an excuse to not be present, until I start making a concerted effort to be present for those most important to me: my children.
My question is: how do you know when you are overdoing it– whether at work or being of service? How do you know when you are neglecting those who are most important to you?
Personally, I chose to put my children first. If they ask, call, or need me, I’m there– no questions asked. My service has to come second.
This week, let’s make sure we prioritize what is good for us– not only what feels good in the moment.
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love
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