I heard somewhere that our goal as Christian parents is to raise the next generation. And often raising that next generation involves sacrifice. I think that tends to be overlooked today when our culture bombards us with being happy and finding personal satisfaction. The whole idea of sacrifice is not an enticing idea.
I vividly remember questioning my father about something he could do and I couldn't. He gave me 2 reasons :
1) Rank has its privileges
2) Do as I say, not as I do.
I vividly remember NOT liking that answer. And that experience really shaped my parenting as a mother of what I would never tell my kids. It helped give me the passion to set an example for my kids, not simply tell them what they should or should not be doing.
Choosing to set an example is not the easy way to parent. It involved sacrifice. But our goal was to raise the next generation well. For example, we made the choice to not watch any movies that our kids weren't able to watch. As they got older, the kids were able to tell their friends, "Our family doesn't watch those movies" instead of 'my parents won't let me'. It was a sacrifice, but we were serious about wanting to be an example.
There are times I've felt unappreciated for my sacrifice. I've learned that it's my problem to deal with because I'm choosing to sacrifice. My kids never asked me to sacrifice, it's been my choice. So really, they don't owe me gratitude. I try to view their appreciation as a gift, not an expectation.
Sometimes I don't feel so sacrificial. Sometimes I struggle with resentment. I am naturally a selfish person and I wish I could tell you sacrifice has become easier, but it hasn't. It's a choice I make even now.
I am grateful that Christ set the best example of sacrifice for the next generation. He never said, 'do as I say, not as I do'. Knowing that gives me hope and strength and purpose.