I think it is probably safe to say that every boy at some point in his life has wanted to do what his dad does for a living. If you think about it , it’s almost expected – the father son dynamic is such that the son’s main influence in his life , will be his father… Or at least it should be. I pray that will always be the case with my son … It’s a sobering thought that continues to encourage me to give strict diligence to strive to be the man who my son “thinks”I am… One day , he will figure out that I too am human ,not invincible ,bulletproof or immune to everything scary and dangerous ,but in fact – a fragile vulnerable and flawed man – insecure about his image and struggles with his weight , scared at times and not nearly as cool as he thinks he is… Until that day comes however , I AM THE MAN… in my son’s eyes anyway…
That being said , the most important thing I can do for my son – either for a living or other – is to recognize the times when he needs me , and fulfill the need . Biblically speaking , we see this time and time again between Jesus and God , but probably the most visible is in the Garden.. I have heard it said many times that Jesus was sorrowful the most- not because of the cross -but because of the fact that he would face it alone. – In the Garden where Jesus prayed he needed his father and wanted desperately to please him – no matter the COST …Be cause God deemed us VALUABLE.(Matthew 26:36-42)
… Which finally will bring me to the lesson about “Cost” and “Value” that my son taught me..
I had grown to hate the Holidays… 2 years ago , I wasn’t preaching fulltime yet and had been out of work for several months. We managed to get by with what money I could make doing side work and odd jobs for cash for people. The winter was about to set in and I knew the slow season would be upon us. You see , not only does the work slow down for the winter in the construction industry – the people who do have money are not going to spend it on an out of work construction guy ,but rather family and friends for the Holidays… Unexpectedly , an opportunity to paint the inside of a woman’s home came up. I hate to paint more than just about everything else ,but I couldn’t turn down the work – Remember , the Holidays were upon us and I needed to do my best to provide some sense of normalcy for my family – if not gifts , having the power on during the Holidays would be nice , and if possible – a gift or two for my kids…
The job was torture – it was a painters nightmare.
All of the furniture had to be moved around , covered , protected etc.. To add insult to injury , the paint the homeowner selected was the worst quality ever and went on the walls with the consistency of water.To get done in a timely manner and to make sure that the job was profitable – I decided I would work long hours to shorten the amount of days…So ,long,long hours were worked. I was up and gone before either of my kids were awake and not home until well after they had gone to bed…But I kept focused ,telling myself that this was “for them”.. After 2 weeks of this , the inevitable happened – I being completely exhausted – overslept…
In my frantic hurry to get out the door , I nearly tripped over Kole as he excitedly came to greet me from his bedroom door ..”DADDY!” he exclaimed… “Hey bud“I sleepily responded as I was quickly headed to the living room to put on my shoes. Kole followed close behind and in usual form hitting me with barrage of questions. As I tried to answer them the best I could , it was clear that I was distracted and only half way paying attention when he then stop right in front of me and asked of me this – “daddy, don’t go to work today“… Still tying my shoes I responded ” I have to bud..” .. “Why” he replied… becoming more frustrated with the situation I responded sharply with “ because I HAVE to – we need money”... He then turned , and ran back to his room. I sat there wondering if I had responded rashly and hoped I hadn’t hurt his feelings … I hadn’t seen him at all in the better part of 2 weeks so I knew I needed to apologize.
As I got up from the couch and began to head down the hall ,he greeted me in the hallway , holding his piggy bank in his little hands and looking directly at me with his big brown eyes and smiling so proud. “Here daddy – you can have my money…Stay with me ?”
My knees buckled , and I hit the floor… I wrapped my arms around him and held him , then began to cry.
My son taught me a most valuable lesson that late fall morning. He taught me that the most important things in this life are not what most of us think they are. As I was working my self to death , I was neglecting my family for a job that only required that much of my time because I deemed it necessary …My son offered to buy MY time with him because that’s what he thought it “Cost”..In those two weeks and probably more preceding it , I taught him that – and I was wrong. My son needed me and sought to pay the price to have me , because to him – I was “Valuable” and in doing so exposed a part of myself that once I recognized ,needed to change.
Once again he was the teacher ,and I was the student. His Lions Heart ,in true form ,exposed me and ripped me to shreds… And I am thankful for that , and him. He taught me the true meaning of “Value” and “Cost”…
Needless to say , I took that day off and gave myself fully to him.. We played , we watched movies and of course – we took a much-needed nap ,but we took it together 😉
Since then , Kole and I have had many conversations about my job and the differences between what I used to do , and what I am privileged to do now.. “SO you don’t , fix people’s houses anymore” ..”No Bud , I don’t” … “Do you still help people though?”…”I hope so , I certainly try! “…
“Daddy , I want to do what you do when I grow up… I wanna be like you!”
… “Yea Bud ? , Well – I wanna be more like you KOLE … 😉 “
The value of the time with my son (and daughter) is most precious and God appointed by scripture – NO MATTER THE COST.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5, ESV)