Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Our older son dreamed since first grade about playing his first high school football game, and the day finally came. And the first game was an "away" game. It was a freshman game, and let me tell you, at freshman games, the parental attendance was usually underwhelming! Well, my wife and I were huddled conspicuously in the bleachers, up there with a few others. And finally the team came in with their mix-and-match freshman uniforms. Of course, we're looking for only #76. We didn't take our eyes off of #76, our son. And he, on the other hand, oh, he's all business, man, looking appropriately all macho - staring straight ahead - game face. Oh, he wasn't about to be needing Mom and Dad, but he couldn't resist a glance. For just a moment, he glanced from under that helmet into the stands, and our eyes met. And then, he was quickly back at the field - no smile, no wave, except from us, but our son had to know we were there. Our presence was very noticeable. Our absence would have been, too.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Taking Attendance."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Deuteronomy 6:5-7. We're going to find some very practical advice for how to be there for our kids. See, throughout their growing years, children are constantly checking the stands to see if Mom and Dad are there when it counts; especially for the five golden moments in your son or daughter's day.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 give us insight from God, who is the only perfect Father, and it shows us how we can communicate love and truth to our kids. It's in the classroom of everyday life. Here's what He says: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your strength, and these commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them upon your children. Talk about them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the road, and when you lie down, and when you get up."
Notice how practical this is. He says, I want you to do this in everyday life. Now, let's bring it right down to home here. In my book "5 Needs Your Child Must Have Met at Home," we talk about these five golden moments; times when our kids are taking attendance. Here they are in any given day of your son or daughter's life:
- Wake up time - When they're first waking up they need a parent there who is gentle, and affectionate, and welcoming them to a new day.
- Secondly is the send off when they're leaving for their day. Now what do horses and children and Olympic athletes have in common? They run a good race when they get off to a good start! And as often as possible, a parent needs to be there for breakfast, and for a child's departure. My wife would always pray with the kids, and launch them with these happy words, "Have a nice day with Jesus!"
- The third golden moment is the reception when they are coming in. If your work schedule will possibly allow it, your parental presence when a child gets home is an important "builder upper." Some days they'll come in ready to talk about the good news, or the bad, and then they'll just have a little TV or play or homework, and the moment's lost. Your job is to be there to hug and listen without judgment, and to notice they're home and to be available.
- The fourth golden moment is the "debriefing." Maybe it's right after you welcome them home. They need to debrief, report, celebrate, evaluate. Maybe they need to explode. They don't need interrogation or judgment, they need an ear.
- Then, the fifth golden moment is the "happy ending." The day ending well. It's time for an "I love you" or "I'm sorry," or "Thank you." Sign them off with the Lord on their minds. It's better to go to sleep thinking about a Father in heaven than monsters in the closet.
Golden moments: You won't make all five every day, but do as many as you can. The years when our kids are taking attendance don't last long. Let's make sure we're there for the moments that really count. Your son or daughter is checking the stands to see if you are really there.