Kids have an adept ability to be creative, competitive, thoughtful, rude, kind, and mean, all in the same day!
I will share something that happened this week with the kids at home.
We were enjoying a couple of nights ago at home as a family. Nothing fancy or costly. We played a game or two, and the kids got to release a bunch of energy “playing” with dad. The “dad can we please play with you” request, which I seem to hear EVERY day, is code for “lets climb and wrestle all over you until you’re too tired and then keep doing it some more”!
Honestly, it’s these evenings that keep me young – literally! But I do enjoy it very much. I actually want it to take place as often as possible, especially while the kids are young… mostly because when they get older, they’re too heavy to lift, flip and roll around.
To delve a little deeper on this thought… I think it’s quite counter-culture these days for young children to have the blessing of spending quality time with their fathers. It seems to be the trend for either the father to leave the family and be out of their lives (or at least very limited involvement), or to be present yet absent at the same time, as they isolate themselves in a “man-cave” or place they’ve created for themselves. Let me be blunt and say that I think, as a father myself, that a “mancave” is one of the dumbest things to spend so much time and resources on!
I’m not saying that at times, father’s don’t want or even need a little alone time to think, plan, or even “decompress” by doing a project around the house. But that should never take up family time, that should always be done outside of that.
Fathers can, and should, be glad when the kids WANT to spend time with us. I know I am!
But, back to our event from this week… Later that evening, we wrapped things up and got ready to go to sleep. The very last thing the kids do when going to sleep is we pray together. I want them to remember that this is essential to ending a day, and starting one for that matter. So we had the kids give one thing they were thankful for each day as we always do, and then during prayer, they get the opportunity to tell the Lord that.
Well, I broke the silence during prayer with a chuckle. Why? Because my son, in the way he does most of his spontaneity, follows his sister in praying that “he will learn to ride her bike better than she can”. She got a bike last year and in the fall we took the training wheels off as she wanted to learn to ride with just two wheels. She even prayed that she’d learn without falling too many times. So he copycats her, but makes it his own.
It is amazing to see the development of sons and daughters, and the differences that set them apart without any need to teach or train them to do that!
I’m looking forward to using my son’s competitiveness for good, teaching him to channel that to work hard and perform his best in all that he does. I want him to use it in a way that pleases the Lord we serve. That is what brings honor to Christ.
This also challenges me. I’m guilty of times when I’d rather be alone, or want to do something that’s “less active” at home in the evening after a long day. But every time I hear the little voices pleading with daddy to play and “get me”, it’s as though the Lord speaks to my heart and says “this is how they will know what their heavenly father is like, through the response you give them, and through how you spend the time with them”. I’m challenged to reflect Christ in my attitude, priorities, thoughts, actions toward them. They will learn all they will ever know about a father from me and no one else.
As fathers, what do we show what it means to our children? I’m sure many or most of you can tell similar stories, but I want to challenge all of us fathers to be steadfast in this and make our families our priority, after all, God gave us the gift of fatherhood.