Wednesday, July 20, 2016

91% of Parents Ignore This Warning

A Daddy Draft

(For those of you intrigued with the title of this post, please understand that 87% of all statistics are made up, and such is the case with my title.)

Time and time again people look at my kids and tell me, "They grow up so fast!" I think the reason people say that may be because they realized it too late. It's almost like a warning to parents everywhere saying,
"Pay attention!"
"You're kids will be gone before you realize it!" 

"Don't waste a moment!"
"Be intentional with the time you have with them!" can you be intentional as a parent? How can you be intentional when you have four little ones wreaking havoc on the house and wearing your pregnant wife down to exhaustion and all you want is to get them to bed so you can have a moment of peace and quiet? Lindsay and I have fought very hard to be intentional with our kids, always asking, "Why and How?" we do what we do. It was out of one of these many conversations that God gave me a fun idea that helps us be intentional at twenty different times in our kids lives.

"Daddy, my tooth is loose!" my daughter joyfully announced to me one day. My first thought was, "Are we going to talk about the tooth fairy in our family?" While I would say there's nothing wrong with pretending there's a tooth fairy, we decided in our family we are going to do something different.

When our kids lose a tooth, it is a reminder from Jesus that I need to be intentional with my kids. When one of my kids loses a tooth, I set aside time to sit down and talk to them about how our spiritual life is similar to our teeth. You see, we will lose all twenty of our baby teeth to make room for our new grown up teeth. In the same way, we are commanded in scripture to put off our sinful nature and put on our new nature (Col. 3:5-15). So, when Marie lost her first tooth, we sat down and talked about kindness and I gave her a pair of work gloves to remind her to be kind to others and serve them. I've also talked to her about love, joy, peace, and patience as she continues to lose teeth.

Jack just lost his first two teeth, almost within the same twenty-four hour period. For his first "Tooth Ceremony" I put all the kids to bed, made a fire outside, made milkshakes for him and me, and then went and got him out of bed to sit around the fire and chat. I spoke to him about being a leader and being a warrior. Jack was on cloud nine as he got to stay up late and have a milkshake when none of his other brothers or sister were allowed to. It was such a powerful moment to hear him take to heart the principles I was teaching him as I asked him to reiterate what I was talking to him about to see how much he was understanding. One of my key messages to him was that good leaders are not to be selfish, but to consider others above themselves (Phil. 2:3-8). When I went to put him back to bed that night, his younger brother had crawled into Jack's bed and was sleeping on Jack's pillow and had Jack's blanket. I told Jack just to sleep in his brother's bed and he said, "But I want my pillow and blanket." To which I responded, "Good leaders give up what they want so that others can have what they need."

With pride in his eyes Jack simply said, "Ok" and crawled into his brothers bed. It was an amazing time of speaking truth into Jack's life and being intentional with him.

"They grow up so fast!" I've never doubted this statement, but I feel an urgency in my soul to be intentional with my kids. I know my time with them is slipping away and I don't want to miss those important moments to speak truth into their lives. 

Parents, heed this warning: don't allow business to steal away these precious moments of intentionality with your kids. Have a plan, because without one you cannot be intentional. Every time you hear someone say, "They grow up so fast!" may it be an alarm ringing in your soul that forces you to ask yourself, "How have I been intentional with my kids lately?" Children are a blessing from the Lord; may we all cherish that blessing and not waste it. 

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