Its not often that you get to break the world record three times in one day! Well, it happened today!
I was jealously grabbing a couple of cherished hours, busily preparing talks for a conference that is rapidly rushing in upon me, and in walks my six year old grandson, Landon. Hey Papa, ya wanna play ping pong with me? So we put up the ping pong table in the garage, and decided to set a world record for how many times we could make the ball bounce over the net. The first record was seven times! Then fourteen, and finally twenty four!
Two memories come to mind on this game of ping pong. One is of my dad and how important his work always seemed to be. It had to be, because he never had time in his busy schedule to play with me. Except once when I was in the 7th grade and we had just moved into a lovely new home where the previous owners had left a ping pong table. He came into the garage and we began hitting the ball back and forth for a few minutes, until he became annoyed with my level of play. I vividly remember how wounded I felt when he briskly exited the room, muttering a caustic remark. It was in that moment that I also pulled back emotionally from him, never to return.
My second memory of ping pong was at the memorial service of a godly old friend of many years, Bill Greenaway, where a couple of his grandchildren spoke adoringly of him because, among other things, he played ping pong with them. It seems that they caught the idea that they were significant enough to him to command his valuable time. And it was in this and similar contexts that he left the powerful imprimatur of his Christ-honoring life on them.
A few days ago I sat with a high powered missionary who only recently realized how sparing he has been in giving his children his undivided time and attention. So this week for the first time, in an effort to correct his error, he took each of his five children aside and individually asked them what they were thinking about and how they were doing. Two of them broke into tears, overcome he said by the fact that he actually cared enough to give them personalized time. He seemed to them, perhaps for the first time to actually care about what they thought and felt.
So dad, how are you doing with spending ungrudging time with your kids? Are they important enough to you to put aside your work or play, in order to build in them a sense of self-worth?
I hope so, because the quality of their adult life may significantly be affected by it.
The Spirit produceslovepatience, kindnesstolerance and self-control…Love is slow to lose patience-it looks for a way of being constructive…Love knows no limit to its enduranceFathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord (Gal. 5:22, 23; I Cor. 13:4-8 Selected. Phillips Trans. Eph. 6:4 NLT)