“‘I wanted my kids to know me”

Posted on September 20, 2017 · Posted in Communication, Parenting

Steve Jobs revolutionized the way our culture communicates. Steve Jobs was a legend. However, there was one area Jobs recognized where he was lacking. He was a private man, even from his own children.

“I wanted my kids to know me,” Jobs was quoted as saying by Pulitzer Prize nominee Walter Isaacson, when he asked the Apple co-founder why he authorized a tell-all biography after living a private, almost ascetic life. “I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did,” Jobs told Isaacson in their final interview at Jobs’ home in Palo Alto, California.

Millions have benefited from Jobs’ creativity while his own children had to wait for his biography to know about their dad.  In the world we live in we often benefit from the losses of others, even if we are unaware of this loss.  Given a personal one-on-one setting, which of us would have been comfortable telling Steve Jobs to forfeit his relationship with children so that we could have an iPhone? Because we didn’t know Steve Jobs, we didn’t have that choice.

How many of the benefits of modern life that we enjoy have come about at the price of broken marriages and families? Much of the music that enriches our lives has come from the pen of troubled artists. Movie stars capture our affections on the screen, but their personal lives are train wrecks in progress.

Steve Jobs thought he needed to have someone else tell the story of his life to his children. Is my iPhone worth that? No, it is not. But, as I said, it wasn’t my choice to make. I would not have known what my iPhone truly cost apart from reading about it. But, we can know the choices God wants us to make. Our children should not have to read a book or find out from others to know who we are. Our marriages should not have to suffer or fail because we think something else is more important.

No, I can’t give my iPhone back so that Steve Jobs’ children could know their dad. Neither can you.  But what we can do is stop taking things for granted and make the most of the opportunities God gives to us. We can take the time to talk to our wives, our husbands, and our children. We can tell them how Jesus saved our lives from our own personal train wrecks. There is a sad irony that we will often recommend a new tech product, like an iPhone, to someone we barely know, but are hesitant to talk about the One who can truly change lives for the better. Don’t hide your story from your children. Bring them with you on your journey through life’s hard times and good times. Perhaps by talking about the wonder of Christ your children may actually get to know their dad.

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.