Sawyer my grandson is an original
. Carrot red hair. Freckles. Six years old. Lives and breaths race cars. At last count he had about 170 of those small metal replicas you buy at Wal-Mart.
A few weeks ago, he and I bought a soccer ball kid size – to kick around at the beach. At the check out stand I also purchased a couple of packs of gum, gave him a stick and took out one for myself. "Thanks Papa!" came his response. A couple of minutes down the road I tossed him a second stick. "Papa, you cant chew two sticks of gum at a time!" "Why not," I queried? So, we both chomped down on two sticks!
A few minutes later, while still en route, I tossed him a third, then a forth, and a fifth stick. "Hey Sawyer, why dont we go for the worlds record of five sticks in our mouth?" "Papa!!" And with that we stuffed our chops with the remaining sticks; exhausting our jaws while kicking the soccer ball around.
On our way home in the car, one of the two "world record holders" broke the silence with, "PapaI love you." To which the other responded, "I love you too, Sawyer."
A few days ago, when Sawyer was back at our home visiting, we shattered the world record with 10 sticks each. Our new goal, the next time hes here, is to go for 15, and another world record!
Now I know that old guys like me are suppose to be serious and all. Titus 2:2 give us the guidelines, "Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance." But do we have to be stuffed shirts?
You see, I have a hidden agenda:
Eight or ten years from now this freckle-faced carrot top will be a full-blown teenage type. And my guess is that he, like most teens will be testing the boundaries. So Im preparing now for that day when he will need his fellow gum chewing co-world record holder "Papa" to sit down with him over a Coke and talk things over. It is my intention that the power of our bond will at least equalize the pressure of his peers, as he faces choices about drugs, sex, integrity, life goals, etc., etc.
The other day my wife and I were with Sawyer and his little sister at the Fair. As we waited to enter, a father took off his hat and slapped his son a boy about Sawyers age across the head and yelled, "Sit down!! Now!! On the ground!! Sit!!!" You know I wonder if that Dad ever crawls around on the floor playing race cars with his kid, or breaks world records. I wonder if he is preparing for his sons teenage years by developing a deep abiding relationship. Doubtful.
So Dad, how are you doing
? Are you building the quality of relationships and memories with your kids that will carry the family during those challenging years when they will be thinking and deciding for themselves? When they will be bombarded with unimaginable temptations and choices?
Or are you simply functioning as the in-house shadow of Gods idea of a Father?
"Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master." (Eph. 6:4 The Message)