Friday, March 7, 2014
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Playing his first high school football game - that was our son's dream since first grade! And the day finally came! His first freshman game was an away game. And let me tell you, at freshman games the parental attendance was underwhelming to say the least.
Well, my wife and I are huddled up in the bleachers with a few others, and finally the team comes in with their mix-and-match freshman uniforms. Of course, we're looking only for the #76. We couldn't keep our eyes off of him. And he, of course, was all business, looking appropriately macho, staring straight ahead, game face. He wasn't about to be needing Mom and Dad...no way.
But he couldn't resist a glance. In just this quick 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 and no wave. I just knew our son had to know we were there. Our presence was very noticeable and very important to us and to him.
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 that Mom and Dad are there when it counts, especially for the five golden moments in your son or daughter's day.
This passage also gives us insights from God, who is the only perfect Father, into how we can communicate love and truth and be involved with our kids. It's in the process of everyday life. I call it the classroom of everyday life. Here's what He says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." See how practical this is? He says, "I want you to be there in everyday life." And that's got to happen at home.
In my book, "Five Needs Your Child Must Have Met at Home", we talk about these five golden moments; times when they are taking attendance; when they're checking to see if Mom or Dad are there.
Number one is their wake up time; when they are first waking up. They need a parent who is gentle, affectionate, welcoming them to a new day. Second is the send off, when they're leaving for their day. Race horses, children, race cars, Olympic athletes? They want to run a good race, they need a good start. And for that to be possible, a parent needs to be there at breakfast if at all possible. My wife would always pray with the kids and launch them with these happy words, "Have a nice day with Jesus." I can hear her doing it now.
The third one is when they need instruction, and that's when they're coming in. If your work schedule will possibly allow it, your presence when a child gets home is an important time of life building. Some days they'll be ready to talk about the good news or the bad. And then a little TV or play or computer or homework, or whatever and you need to be there. Your job is to be there and listen to their day without judgment and just be available.
And then the fourth golden moment is to debrief them. Maybe it's right after you welcome them home and it needs to be brief. But they need to be able to see the teachable moments and what can be learned from the experiences of that day. That's the best teaching of all, and to celebrate what the good things were that day and to evaluate the hard things of that day.
And finally, they need a happy ending. The day needs to end well. They may need to hear you say, "Thank you" or "I'm sorry" or "I love you."
Send them off with the Lord on their mind. Let them go to sleep thinking about their Father in heaven instead of monsters in the closet. Golden moments: five points in a child's life to build your relationship on. Look, you're not going to make all five every day, but do as many as you can as often 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.