Why Parents Should Have Favorites

I was recently in a restaurant with all our kids and one of my kids needed some help so I helped her and gave her a hug then looked her in the eye and told her that she was my favorite. When other people overhear me tell my kids they are my favorite the reaction I always get is priceless. Most people are either shocked or offended because they counted how many kids we have when we walk in the room. If you have more than two kids you know what I’m talking about when you walk into a restaurant and people either pause or mouth the number of kids you have….apparently four kids is the new twelve. People who are shocked that I would have favorites and worse yet have the gall to say that I did out loud.

What most people don’t know is I tell all my kids they are my favorite. I tell them each they are my favorite and it never really occurred to me that this is counter-cultural it’s just something I’ve always done. I tell them each they are my favorite when I tell them not to tell anyone. It’s our little fun way of saying I love you more than anyone in the whole world.

The reason this is odd to most people is that the conventional wisdom says have no favorites love everyone the same. Reality tells us something quite different it says, each kid is unique love them uniquely. When as a parent you tell your kids that you love them and they are your favorite you are speaking life over them and pouring love into them. When we tell our kids they are our favorite what we are telling them is they are uniquely special in some particular way.

The reason that most Christian parents don’t believe in favorites is that they believe that God loves the whole world in the generic sense. They don’t understand that they are loved in a very specific sense. When we read in the Bible that God so loved the world what we understand when we are Christians is that we are not just creatures in general that God is fond of. We see that by his grace are brought into adoption we become adopted sons that he loves us we become his favorites in our own unique way. One of the things that are so unique about Christianity is we believe in a personal God. We don’t believe in a god who is far but a God who came close. Who loves humanity in general but you in particular. We have favorites because God does. We don’t like that because we think it’s somehow unfair, but that is because we don’t understand God fully. We don’t understand how he can love us all and yet each of us is his favorite without him being partial to anyone. The closest we come is in parenthood I remember when I had my first child I could not love him more when my wife told me we were having a second child I worried that I would be unable to love a child the same as I loved my first. When my second son was born I realized then they were both my favorites. I realized how God loves me. His love isn’t divided by his children but rather is love is unending and has no beginning and no end. We don’t deplete his love. So go home tonight and tell your kids they are your favorite. They need to hear it you need to say it.

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