You Can Learn A Lot From Your Children
In March of 2006, I lost my Dad. He had been battling emphysema for several years and was progressively getting worse. I remember being at the hospital after we had been told he probably wouldn't make it through the night. I made my way to the chapel and had a little chat with God. During that discussion, I let God know just how upset I was that after years of praying for my Dad, it had come to this. I really believed that God was able to heal him and my expectations were no less than that. God didn't pull through like I wanted Him to, and I was pretty miffed about it.
My emotions were running wild. I had this sense of enormous loss, I'm upset with God, I have a baby due in 6 weeks who will grow up never knowing his Pa-Paw, and I'm trying to make sense of it all. I would like to say that I finally got things together and became a rock for the rest of my family. The truth is, I needed some help from my 3 year old son.
As things were progressing at the hospital, my wife was at home with our son. I called her to update her on things and told her she needed to start explaining to him what was happening. She must have done an awesome job explaining things to him, because his response helped me put things in perspective. His last time to see Pa-Paw in the hospital was a little difficult for him. My Dad was wearing an oxygen mask and my son didn't like it at all. As a matter of fact, he wouldn't go any where near Pa-Paw at first. After my wife explained to him that Pa-Paw was about to go to heaven, he responded by saying, "In heaven Pa-Paw won't have to wear a mask."
When my wife relayed that message to me, I was floored. In that 3-year-old's statement, was a wealth of wisdom. All, my son knew, was heaven is a place where people aren't sick and the tubes, and masks that he had grown accustomed to seeing Pa-Paw wear, Pa-Paw would no longer need. I never wanted my father to die, but I have to tell you the vision of my dad in heaven with the ability to breathe freely, overwhelmed me. I had witnessed my Dad struggling physically for over 20 years and in a moment that struggle was over. Apart from a miracle that would not have happened here on earth.
I wanted Dad to whip this thing, but let's face it, 20 years is a long time to fight. The truth is my Dad was tired and weary but now he's not. He has no more battles to fight in his physical body and that is awesome. He is in heaven breathing without any problem for the first time in decades.
It is amazing how God used my 3 year old to teach me to look at this whole thing so differently. I could tell you numerous stories just like this one that illustrates the amount of wisdom I receive from my children. Trust me, your children will teach you if you'll allow them to.
Have you ever been in an argument with your teen and as words were being thrown back and forth, your teen spouted something that was dead right about you that caused your defenses to go up? I'm talking about some statement that you know straight up was right on target but you were totally offended by it. Now, I'm not promoting arguing with your teen. As a matter of fact, I detest arguing and sometimes err on the side of doing too much to avoid that kind of conflict. Here's my point. There may be areas in our lives that need some work and our children may be really good at recognizing them for us. Now, no parent really wants to admit that, but it is the truth. Sure, their attitude and approach may be way of track and you should deal with their disrespect accordingly. At the same time, however, try to look for any truth that may be in what they are saying and apply that.
There is a story in the Old Testament about a man named Balaam. He's on his donkey and there's an angel ahead of him about to chop off his head with a sword. The donkey sees the angel and stops. Balaam, who is unable to see the angel, gets irritated with the donkey and hits him in an effort to get him to move. The donkey then gets irritated with Balaam and turns and tells Balaam to knock it off. Finally, Balaam is able to see the angel, but had it not been for his donkey, his head would of literally rolled.
Now, a talking donkey is not something you see every day. But, the point of this story is that if Balaam can learn something from a donkey, you and I can learn things from our children. After all, our children are a little higher on the intellect scale than a donkey. I know sometimes you may doubt that, but it is the truth. We can learn things from almost anyone if we'll just be teachable. As a youth pastor, I learn things from teenagers all the time and as a Dad, I learn things from my children more times than I care to mention. It may be profound spiritual lessons or small nuggets of wisdom. Or, it may be simply reminding me of the character issues in my life that need attention as I see a mirror image of me in them. Determine to look for the wisdom your children can impart to you and believe me you'll find it.
Related Tags: child, family, parenting, parent, teens, father, mother, teenager, christian parenting, family life
Tim Stone is a veteran of youth ministry with over 15 years of experience in that field. He currently serves as youth pastor at Freedom Fellowship Church in Magnolia, TX. He is also the founder of EquippingParents.com, a website designed to inform and equip today's parents. For more tools and resources go to http://www.equippingparents.comYour Article Search Directory : Find in Articles
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