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Parenting by Pager
What do you do when there's not enough time to do everything?
Have you ever tried to be two places at the same time? In many ways,
technology is making that possible. Some parents are setting up a baby
cam in the nursery so grandparents can log on the Internet and watch their
I've caught a commercial on TV a time or two where a father watches
his son play a championship soccer game from his motel room while he's
away on business. Using high speed connectivity, the father is able to
"be there" with his son as he scores the winning goal.
But is it the same? Grandparents don't just want to watch their grandchildren,
they want to hold them, and fathers don't want to just watch their son
score the winning goal, they want to go to the victory party too. (From
Have the conveniences of the 21st Century, given us any more
time? Do you feel like you have more time on your hands than your parents
did? Or do you constantly feel a time crunch?
To tell you the truth, not having the time you want to spend with your
family isn't the only problem. I'm not always sure what I'm supposed to
do with the time I've got. There was a time when family roles were well
defined. Dad was the sole bread winner. He worked hard and when he got
home from work, everyone "gave him his space" and kinda catered to him.
Mom brought him an icy glass of tea, Junior retrieved his slippers for
him and Spot fetched the evening paper. Not anymore.
Dad still works, but so does Mom, in most homes. Everyone has to pitch
in and keep the home. Children take on major responsibilities like yard
work or kitchen duty. Dad may do the shopping and cooking or help with
the laundry. And on top of everything else, Dads are supposed to be nurturing,
kind, understanding, and the spiritual leader of the home. Dads, do you
ever feel overwhelmed?
I wish I had a magic pill to give you that would resolve the internal
conflict you feel when you're not able to be everything that everybody
wants you to be. I don't. All I can say is I face the same choices and
experience the same struggles. What I can offer you is a short list of
priorities that can help you make wise decision in how to spend the time
you devote to your family.
Like Job, use your time to build a spiritual fire. In Job 1:5 we catch
a glimpse into Job's home environment, it says, "And it came about, when
the days of feasting had completed their cycle, that Job would send and
consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings
according to the number of them all; for Job said, "Perhaps my sons have
sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did continually." No wonder
God praised Job's righteousness. He built a home where his children could
I have two memories that illustrate the spiritual fire in my childhood
home. One afternoon I was looking for my Dad after I finished mowing the
church lawn. He wasn't in his office, but his car was in the parking lot,
so I opened the Sanctuary door to see if he was in there. He was. To this
day I don't think he knows I saw what he was doing. He was on his knees
with his face buried in his hands on the front pew. Quietly, I backed out
of the room and shut the door.
The other memory is of my Mother sitting in her chair, wrapped in her
quilted robe, sipping a cup of coffee and reading her devotional. Today,
she still has her devotional material and her Bible beside her chair, and
when I visit, I can still "catch" her walking with the Lord.
We don't build "spiritual fires" with our words. We build them with
our actions. Have your children caught you "walking with the Lord" lately?
Like Abraham, use your time to build memories. Do you remember when
God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac? It was designed to be a test
of Abraham's faith, and in the end, God provided a sacrifice for Abraham
to substitute for Isaac. But along the way, Isaac asked his father a question
that leads me to believe this was not the first time they'd traveled on
this mountain. "And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, 'My father!'
And he said, 'Here I am, my son.' And he said, 'Behold, the fire and the
wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?'" (Genesis 22:7 NASB)
Abraham built more than an altar to sacrifice to God, he built memories
with his son. Several years ago, we bought Susan's grandmother's 18-foot
trailer. That wasn't a hard decision for us. When Susan's Grandmother died,
her Grandfather wanted to get rid of their camping trailer, the price was
within our means, so we bought it. Oh, it is nothing fancy, truthfully,
we probably could have gotten a much better trailer for a little more money,
but we wanted it for sentimental reasons. Purchasing the trailer was an
easy decision, deciding what to do with it wasn't.
When we bought it, the trailer was parked on Susan's brother's property
in Colorado, about 15 miles away from the family acreage. He offered to
let us keep it there indefinitely, with no strings attached. Moving the
trailer meant we'd have to build a road, install an outhouse and haul water,
all at considerable expense. The trailer was already hooked up to a septic
tank and had running water and access to electricity--it was a perfect
Perfect, except we'd spent 15 years building memories on land 15 miles
away. Memories of the first time Stephen saw a deer, or when Susan out
fished me in the pond or watching Jamie feed the chipmunks. There was the
year Mom and Dad and my little sister, Lori came to vacation with us and
how much she enjoyed "shooting deer," (with a camera, of course).
So we made up our mind to move the trailer to where our memories were.
Four years ago, we hired a contractor to build the road, and my father-in-law
helped me move the trailer on the new pad. A friend & I spent a couple
of days building a vault for the outhouse, then, a month later, the family
spent our vacation time building the outhouse and getting "settled in."
The next year, another friend found a water tank at a garage sale, and
donated it to the cause. The boys and I went up for a few days to install
the tank and pour the footers for the deck. During our summer vacation,
our family built the deck using indigenous lumber. The poles aren't exactly
straight and some of the nails have "puppy tracks" around them, but we're
proud of what we're building. Somewhat proud of the outhouse and the deck,
but very proud of the memories.
Like Isaac, use your time to build a heritage. Genesis 28:3-4 says "And
may God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that
you may become a company of peoples.  "May He also give you the blessing
of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you; that you may possess
the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham." ( NASB) Isaac's
blessing was so important to Jacob, that he tricked his father into giving
it to him. A blessing is powerful. Blessings give confidence and a sense
of heritage to our children.
Last year, Ken Griffey, Jr. chose not to attend "The Players Choice
Awards" to receive the "Player of the Decade" award. Junior beat out three
time MVP winner Barry Bonds and four time Cy Young Award winner, Greg Maddux
for the honor.
The award is a big deal. He joins the ranks of baseball greats Wagner,
Cobb, Ruth, Foxx, Williams, Mantle, Mays, Rose, and Schmidt.
Why didn't he go? Trey, his 5-year-old son had a baseball game that
night--his first, and Junior didn't want to miss it. (From FreshIllustrations
Times, 11-6-99) Trey is a blessed boy. Not because his father and grandfather
play(ed) Major League Baseball, but because they don't allow their moments
in the spotlight to detract them from what is really important.
I live my life as a blessed man. I have the blessings of my grandfathers
who worked with their hands to provide a better life for their children
and grandchildren. I have the blessing of my father who devoted his life
to preaching the gospel and loving Christ's church. I carry the blessings
of senior ministers who've laid their hands on me and prayed for me and
who believe in me. I stand before you as a blessed man, and my clear testimony
is that these blessings have made a difference in my life. They kept me
going when I was discouraged. They gave me energy when I was defeated.
They fanned the flames of faith when I flirted with unbelief. These blessings
Build a heritage for your children. Build a home where your children
are blessed. You may not be able to live up to everyone's expectations,
but like Job, you can build a spiritual fire. Like Abraham you can build
memories and like Isaac, you can build a heritage.