Parents and Children

          I have been travelling lately.  Rejuvenate Conference in Birmingham, AL (delightful visit with CCF alums Russell and Brooke Wall and their twins!).  Weekend with my brother Scott and his wife Kathy [host of the year nominees!] in Cincinnati, OH (got to teach Sunday School at White Oak Christian Church). Association of College Ministries executive planning meeting also in Cincinnati (reunion with Rick and Betty Lee that we lived in community with almost 30 years ago!) In every one of these meetings we looked at pictures of kids or grandkids. It was a real blessing to be around such good parents. It got me thinking about parents and children.

          Children are God’s gifts to parents.  Parents are God’s gifts to children.  Children totally change your life.  When you pick up that little baby and cradle him or her in your arms for the very first time – a journey begins – a journey that lasts a life time.  It begins with phone calls to proud grandparents announcing the new arrival followed by baby pictures on Facebook and then actual real photographs for showing off.

          Then comes midnight feedings, ear aches, diapers – lots of diapers! Then comes the thrill of your child’s first words.  What parent cannot remember the joy they felt when their child first said:  “mommy …daddy” (or anything faintly resembling those syllables!).  Pretty soon each day they learn a new word, a new question to ask.  The days of peace and quiet are gone forever replaced with the probing mind of an inquisitive blessing from the Lord who can’t ask “Why?” enough. 

          You care for your child.  Your life becomes that child.  You instill dreams and hopes in your child.  Each night, you pray to God that your son or daughter will grow up and make a difference in the world.

          Mothers cry when their daughter opens the car door and enters the world of kindergarten.  Fathers beam with pride when their son finally hits the ball in little league even though he closed his eyes when he swung the bat that weighed more than he did…even though the ball barely made it in front of the plate.

          The hours become days, the days become years and in what seems only a second – your child is in high school learning to think, learning to lie, learning to laugh, learning to cry.  Your days and evenings are filled with football games, and scout trips, swimming meets and late night coffee waiting at the kitchen table for your child to return from a date to the Prom.

          And as you lay in bed – you discover that the child you had rocked to sleep only days before has now become a young man or a young woman.  And as you pull the curtains back on the future – questions invade your peace of mind.

  • What will become of my child?
  • Will the child whose cuts I bandaged – find love, find purpose, find God?
  • Will he make it when mom and dad are no longer there to keep him fed or tuck him in at night?
  • Will she find someone who will cherish and love her?
  • What will become of my child?

          The day comes when you pack up the SUV with clothes, computers, pictures, and travel to a college campus to say goodbye to your young son or daughter. 

          And as you leave them that evening — you remind them that their cell phone is there for them to call home on…and you say goodbye to a child and know that the next time you embrace this child – this child will be an adult.

          I am a parent. I am a grandparent. But first I was a son. Since the day of my birth I have depended on my mother and daddy for love and support and somehow they have always been there.

  • Maybe it was a word of encouragement
  • Maybe it was a swift kick in the backside
  • Sometimes it was a simple hug that said what words cannot

I LOVE YOU AND I BELIEVE IN YOU

         We always need our parent’s love and encouragement no matter how old we become or how far from home we live.   That is because the bond between a child and a parent is unique — though it changes in style or influence all through our life – it is the lifeline that we cling to as we become adults and parents and even grandparents ourselves.

          To every parent who reads this I want to say “Thanks for all the sacrifices and all the prayers you have offered on the behalf of your children.”  I want to say, not only to my wonderful parents, but to all good parents:  Thank You! 

          Thank God for good parents!  Thank you Melissa and David for Jonathan, Andrew and Michael.  Thank you J.J. and Eric for Hudson, Cooper, Maddox and Miller.. I love being “Papa” and Sheila loves being “Mimi.”  Their love for one another and their child’s faith in God blesses me. 

          I have had the privilege of working with college age young people for 37 years and I want to say to all the good parents out there that your labor of love is not in vain. 

          Your children will make a difference in the world.  I am tired of the pessimism for tomorrow that I see and I read.  The future is here among us and young people brought up by their parents to love God with all their heart, all their soul and all their mind will make a difference in the world!

          I look forward to the future with joyful anticipation for I am confident that children raised by Christian parents make an impact on their world to the glory of God.

“Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Prov. 17:5