Adam LaRoche—a baseball player for the Chicago White Sox—walked away from 13 million dollars.
When the team’s vice president told LaRoche that his 14-year-old son should spend less time with the team and in the locker room, LaRoche disagreed . . . and submitted his retirement paperwork.
In his farewell letter, he wrote, “As fathers, we have an opportunity to help mold our kids into men and women of character, with morals and values that can’t be shaken by the world around them. Of one thing I am certain: we will regret NOT spending enough time with our kids, not the other way around.”
He added, “Baseball has taught me countless life lessons. I’ve learned how to face challenges, how to overcome failure, how to maintain humility, and most importantly, to trust that the Lord is in control and that I was put here to do more than play the game of baseball.”
Walking away from millions of dollars seemed to be an easy decision for him, though he said it was not a negative reflection on his teammates and the game. It simply was that he made his son a priority. “In life, we’re all faced with difficult decisions and will have a choice to make. Do we act based on the consequences, or do we act on what we know and believe in our hearts to be right? I choose the latter.”
Let’s be honest, most of us don’t make millions of dollars, which means we don’t have a savings account large enough to simply walk away from a paycheck. So what are the little decisions we can make each day? Here are six simple ways to show our children they are priceless to us.
- Eat meals together. Studies show that family meals result in lower rates of substance abuse and depression and higher self-esteem and grade point averages. It also boosts young children’s vocabularies.
- Schedule family activities. Movies, board games, walks, trips to museums or ball games all create rituals and family memories.
- Pray together. I’ll be honest, I am bad at praying with my kids at bedtime. (Sometimes I’m in bed before they are.) But the drive on the way to school works great for us!
- Set boundaries. Let kids know that your family has values and standards that cannot be compromised. Give them that sense of security when their world, hormones, and friends are so confusing.
- Find service projects. While kids need to know they are a priority, they also need to learn that their comfort and happiness isn’t your main goal. Serving God and bringing him glory is first. So serve others together. Teach them to look beyond themselves.
- Get away from your kids. Helicopter parenting does no one any good. Find your balance between showing them they are a priority and showing them you are also more than just Mom or Dad. Teach them independence and help them become contributing members of society.
Linda Buxa is a writer, Bible study leader, and retreat speaker. Her kids love being left home by themselves, probably so they can watch a movie without her interrupting them with random requests for chores.