One day I came home from participating in a memorial service and I happened to turn the TV on and caught the tail end of a documentary about the life of Lawrence Taylor (or “LT”, as he was known by his fans).
Lawrence Taylor is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for being one of the greatest defensive linemen ever to play in the NFL.
The part that I caught was a scene at his daughter’s wedding. He walked her down the aisle and for the entire wedding LT wept like a baby. His head was bowed, eyes closed and the tears bathed his face.
Later on, he looked into the camera and expressed nothing but regret. Regret that he was not present for his wife, and his kids. He felt horrible that he had missed the most important times in their lives.
I felt bad for him. And I remember saying a prayer that LT would know the comfort of God’s forgiveness and grace.
As he struggled under the weight of regret, I started doing a quick inventory of my relationship with my wife and children.
I am not an NFL player. But I am in a line of work, where, if I am not careful, my work can become something of a mistress and a competitor for my wife and children.
In no way am I better than LT, but here are four safeguards that I and my wife have tried to build into our lives over the years:
- Our children didn’t ask to come into the world. So we felt a loving obligation to care for them.
- Our careers, while important to us, does not define us.
- I know this sounds strange, but we also do not make our children the most important part of our lives. God loves our children more than we could ever love them, and Judith and I were here before they got here.
- We set priorities and try to live into them:
First: Jesus Christ is Lord over everything in the Hylton home.
Second: Faithfulness in our marriage is non-negotiable.
Third: Build healthy communication with our children
Fourth: Commitment to excellence in our jobs.