Let’s face it. We’re living in a time and culture where needs and wants are kind of a blur. We have unprecedented access to one anothers’ lives through social media and our kids are growing up in a world that’s more similar to an episode of the Jetsons than the Sandlot.

So as a parent, what is it that we truly need to prioritize for our kids? What is it that our kids really need?

Well, maybe let’s think through some things that they really DON’T need. 

Things like brand name clothes and ten pairs of shoes. Smart phones and Xboxes and Nintendo Switches and electric scooters and smart watches. Kids don’t need constant entertainment. They don’t need to play every sport and travel with a select team in the off seasons. They don’t need trainers and extra practices to be the very best. They don’t need to be at every event or have all of the experiences. They don’t need a mountain of toys to play with on Christmas morning, or really, any morning. 

That list is slightly convicting to me. But it also brings me a lot of freedom. It allows me to exhale. 

I’m guilty of wanting to create an unending reel of magical experiences for my kids. The bigger the better. But when I think about the things that captivated my heart when I was their age, I realize I’m way overdoing it. There are so many things I bend over backwards and stress myself out about that frankly, my kids just don’t really need. 

So what do they need

What’s the one thing IN THIS WORLD that they’ve just got to have? 

They need ME.

And your kids need YOU.

More than any item, any provision, any experience or any vacation. They need you.

Your presence. Your belief in them. Your delight in them. Your commitment to them. 

They need you when they’re brand new. Your scent calms them and reminds them of safety. Your smile lights up their entire world. They need you for everything. For diapering and feeding and rocking and dressing. The sound of your voice singing that same song every night as they nod off to sleep. They need you.

They need you when they’re toddlers. Without you, they’d lose all sense of security. They’d trip on the curb, they’d fall down the stairs. They need guidance and boundaries and affection and rules. From you. You are the common denominator that makes their entire world make sense. You’re the one teaching them to eat with a spoon, use the toilet, to wipe up a spill, and to be a kind friend. You play and imagine and get messy with them. They need you.

They need you in grade school. They’re still dependent in so many ways, needing food and clothes and clean sheets and new pants each winter because their legs keep growing. You’re the one who stays on top of all of the details of their lives. You keep their schedules and buy birthday gifts for their friends. You read books with them and cuddle them close when they have a nightmare. You speak confidence into their souls when you encourage them to audition for the school musical or to try a new sport. When they fail, you remind them that their worth is not in their performance. They need you.

They need you when they’re teenagers. They ask for you less but their foundation is you. They still need guidance and help, even though they might never admit it. You still manage their lives to a degree but you’re slowly letting go and letting them know that you believe in them. You discipline out of love and to bring them back on track. You remind them to go outside and breathe fresh air. You are their safe place in a world that is uncertain and sometimes, cruel. As they step away, you are the one standing behind them, urging them forward. They need you.

And they’ll always need you. Even as they step away and move into adulthood. Each relationship will look unique, for sure. But the bond is undeniable and the role is irreplaceable. 

What they need is you. Your presence. Your delight. Your confidence. You speaking truth to them. You…teaching them all the things. From how to fold a shirt to how to drive a car or fill out a job application. How to forgive a friend or how to break up with a boyfriend. How to do laundry and where to go to get their flat tire fixed. 

The toys and the sports teams and even the vacations will fade in memory and delight. But you. You will be a critical piece of their development from the moment they take their first breath until you take your last. And even then, they will need you. They will ache for you. 

So if you’re scrolling online and feeling like you just don’t measure up. Like your kids are missing out. Like you need to DO more or provide more or just BE more than you are. Remember, more than any item, any provision, any experience or any vacation. They need you.

Your presence. Your belief in them. Your delight in them. Your commitment to them. 



Photography: Lauren Samuels Photography


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here