Each year’s family vacation begins with a Sam’s Club stop for the week’s provisions! The gathering of generations reminds me of more than physical growth; disciples are developing. Parents investing long days now will soon relinquish their children. In a nanosecond, the dog days of summer child rearing give way to the autumn winds of young adults leaving. Diapers give way to diplomas; long days morph into short years.
Growing disciples is the call to parents through these precious days. Yes, you buy groceries, wash and fold mountains of laundry, pursue a career, volunteer, work out, spend hours in your van, help with homework, and give your children varied experiences. But Psalm 78 clearly instructs you to teach your children the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord. But when and how?
When our older son was about 10, he looked from his bedroom door into ours and said, “Are you and dad getting a divorce?”
Shocked, I replied, “No! Whatever made you think that?”
“Well, you and dad haven’t been talking as much to each other lately,” was his explanation.
I stopped mid hair brushing, missed a scheduled meeting, and discovered in our off-and-on conversation that afternoon, that two of his classmates had parents who were divorcing. And Dave and I, amid our hectic work schedules, were merely swapping calendar details in passing. We both talked to our son, offering the Bible’s perameters for marriage and our assurances of love for each other, him and his brother.
More important than any schedule is your role in making disciples. Will the timing be ideal? Probably not. Almost 40 years ago USNA professor, Sam Elder, told us of a call from his oldest daughter at 2 am her first year in college. She wanted to understand a viewpoint very different from hers; she wanted her father’s wisdom. “Rarely will the time be convenient,” said Sam, “but respond when they ask.”
You will undoubtedly miss some of those golden times; I certainly did!
But what a high calling we have to grow disciples, to plant them in the rich soil of scripture, to ask their forgiveness when we need it, to insist they share, to encourage them to live for something bigger than themselves. It is a privilege and not a burden, even if today seems overwhelming. And if today discourages you, may you look to the One whose mercies are new every morning.