Posts Tagged ‘parents’

A Parable

March 11, 2016

Once there was a little baby found abandoned on the street of a third world country.  The king of a very wealthy country was vacationing there, and learned of this baby.  It was ill, malnourished, full of open sores, and nothing about it was pleasant to see.  But the wealthy king felt compassion for it and took it home with him.  As time went on, the king saw to its upbringing.  He got it the best medical care, the best food, the best of tutors and gave it his personal time and attention.  In fact, it became something of his pride and joy as he personally saw to its care and education.  As the child grew, the king began to spend time with it, playing with it, and looking for ways to bring it pleasure and delight.  As it became more mature, he spent long hours talking with it, teaching it his own thoughts and helping it learn to reason and choose.  Nearing adulthood, the king revealed that he was grooming his child for an inheritance in the kingdom, and revealed the love of his heart for this child.  He had high hopes for it, and often spoke to the child about the child’s own wishes and dreams.  And then one morning the child was gone.  The note said the child wanted to seek his own way.  The king heard from his child occasionally, and usually when the child wanted to ask a favor.  And as time went on, even those contacts became farther apart.  The king was brokenhearted.


Was the child ungrateful?  Did it fail to return the love of its adopted father the king?  Was it lacking in character?  Whatever the reason, it was estranged from its father.  And this, is the condition and situation of every human being in relation to its Father the King of Heaven and Earth.  Will we, individual children that we are, seek a return and a reconciliation with him?

Prayer for a New School Year

August 24, 2008

Lord, please bless all our teacher friends and relatives as they make their way back to their classrooms for another year.  Help them to feel excitement and joy in the promise of a new start.  Give them everything they need to start their classes.  Give them all they need all year.  Give them imagination and creativity to make wonders out of what they do have.  Help them stretch their budgets and their supplies.  Give them wisdom all year.  Help them quickly spot the little souls who are going to need something extra from them this year.  Help them have just the right words of encouragement for each student.  Give them loads of love.  Help the love in their hearts just overflow so they always have plenty to spare.  We can’t conjure it up Lord, but you give in abundance..please supply all the love teachers need.  Please supply them energy too, Lord.  Please let them sleep well at night so they are rested and refreshed each morning.  Don’t let them take their problems and worries to bed with them at night.  Give them patience with students, with parents, and with their administration.  Again, Lord, its you who supplies in abundance.  Please keep the students and teachers safe this year.  Keep them safe from accidents or evil intent.  Let the students be excited about this wonderful world and all there is to learn about it.  Help them to be interested in each other, for there’s a wealth to learn about and from each other, and this is true for teachers and parents as well.  Give the parents willing hearts, both to help in the classroom if they can, and certainly to be involved in their children’s homework and in their stories as the year goes on.  Let this be a truly wonderful year for everyone involved in education.  Let everyone feel, at the end of the year, that they learned all they could and gave the best they had.

Prodigal Children

July 31, 2008

What is a prodigal child?  Its that one who just marches to his or her own drummer, who insists on always doing things their own way, even when they pay a painful price for it.  Its the one who marches up fools hill with much bravado because they just have to see for themselves whats up there.  To quote Will Rogers:  Some people can learn from the experiences of others and some just have to touch the electric fence for themselves.

The older I get the more it seems to me the majority of parents have a prodigal child…at least for awhile.  Is there any way to prevent it?  I think not.  It seems the more strict the parents are, the more the prodigal will rebel against their rules.  The more the parents let go of the child, the more the child acts out to get attention.  The more emotionally close the family, the more the prodigal rebels to establish independence and “cut the cord.”  Now I think I have included all kinds of parents, so I’m not sure there’s anything you can do to prevent the rebellion.  You just have to do the best you can to prevent a crackup while they’re still under your roof and you’re still legally responsible for the consequences.

The big break with the prodigal will probably catch you off guard.  If they have been defying your rules for some time they may suddenly announce they are moving in with somebody else.  It will probably be a living situation that concerns you.  Or they may pick a fight, storm off and come back later to pack up their stuff.  This more often occurs if you had once been very close.

Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from them much.  They are trying to establish their independence and reminders of their recent dependence on you make them uncomfortable.  They may even, for a time, break all contact.  While that will surely break your heart, give it time and don’t give up hope.

Don’t be surprised if they do things that seem to you to be foolish, irresponsible, utterly selfish, or even downright immoral or illegal.  Let them go–if they experience consequences, those are the best teacher of all.  You probably won’t see or hear much from them while they’re doing all their unwise things.  They know how you feel…you taught them well.  Your disapproval, though unspoken, makes them uncomfortable.

In the story Jesus told, the prodigal son was wasting his inheritance on alcohol and prostitutes.  It was foolish, selfish, immoral and illegal.  His rebellion covered all the defiant bases.  The father waited a long time, and there was no communication.  Some of us can identify with that.  That young man had to hit rock bottom.  Then he realized what he’d lost and he repented.  The father, who never gave up hope, welcomed him, and the relationship was restored.

The story Jesus told was ultimately a story about God.  Because all God’s children have been prodigals for a season, He knows how you feel.  Tell Him all about it, and ask Him to protect and care for your child.  You may not know where your child is, but He does.  You may not know whats going on, but He sees it all.  Ask Him to change your child’s heart.  He’s the only one who can do that, and ask him to keep your heart hopeful and loving and free from bitterness.  Only He can do that.  Then follow the example of the father in the story.  Keep watch faithfully, and lovingly until your older and wiser prodigal returns home.  If you have let the Father work in your heart, you’ll be able to extend a heartfelt welcome without bitterness or any desire to say “I told you so.”

Children are worth it

February 24, 2008

The fourth most important thing in life is having children.  I believe its important for everyone to be a parent.  I realize this goes against the politically correct advice to avoid having children if you don’t like them, or if you don’t think you would be a good parent.  Everyone dislikes some other people’s children.  I can promise you its different when its your own children.  If they are your own children you won’t dislike them all the time, only some of the time, and you’ll get over it.  If you don’t think you would be a good parent, thats nonsense.  You can learn to be a good parent if you really want to.  Unless you have an addiction, a psychiatric problem or a hereditary condition, I think you should have children.  Having children will make you a better person.  Now it won’t do that easily.  There will be times when you are sure its making you a worse person.  Thats simply because parenthood will bring out all the selfish, ugly parts of your personality you wouldn’t have otherwise known were there.  Then you get to work on those things, and that will make you a better person, I promise.  Marriage will start you on that track.  At least it will if you stick to your marriage and work on it.  Thats one reason why its best to be married before you have children.  Not only will you have a committed parent to help you in raising your child, but you will have a head start on that process of becoming the person you were meant to be.  In other words, marriage is good practice for parenthood.

Parenthood does a couple other things.  It helps you come full circle with your own parents.  Most young people grow up with critical issues involving their own parents.  In other words they’re critical of a lot of things their parents did.  When you have children, you will understand your own parents a whole lot better.  You might not do everything the same way they did, but you will surely understand them a whole lot better–guaranteed!  Secondly, you will understand God a whole lot better.  Things just happen while parenting your kids that answer such theological questions as:  “Why can’t I understand what God is doing?  How come God isn’t always fair? and How come God sometimes lets bad things happen to me?”  Your kids will probably ask you every question you ever asked God in your life, but now you get to be on the other side of the question.  One of my kids asked me why I had allowed him to have a surgery.  He sure didn’t want it, and it caused him pain.  He even had the audacity to ask me how could I let that happen if I loved him.  I’d asked God the same things before.

Bill Cosby once said you weren’t fully qualified as a parent till you had two kids, because you had to have two before you could be put in the role of judge over the kids disputes and to try to be fair.  Well, once you get put in the “fair” chair, you will regret accusing God of being unfair.

Well, are their any rewards for having kids?  So far, it seems like its all about character building in you the parent.  Yes, you will have lots of fun moments, lots of laughs, incredibly proud moments, incredibly sweet moments, and the heart melting “I love yous”.  And because raising children, like marriage, is something you’re in for the long haul, some of the rewards come much later when you least expect them.  You get grandchildren, and thats a whole lot of fun!  I can’t even describe the joys of grandparenting to someone who isn’t a grandparent.  And you simply have to go through raising children first to ever get grandchildren.  The most unexpected reward of all is when you see your grandchild do something to their parent, exactly the same way that child did it to you. From the look on your child’s face, you know you have come full circle with your child the same way you came full circle with your parents.  There’s a new understanding with your child.  Now you have in common that you are both parents.  Its very special.