Life Lesson from my toddler
In full disclosure, this is a difficult blog to write. Let me first clear the air by telling you that pastors aren’t perfect. ::GASP:: I know. We love Jesus and we love teaching and preaching the good news, but we too, aren’t perfect. This was a moment in which I showed my imperfection.
I was going away for a retreat with the men from our church. It’s always a great time together (so if you haven’t ever gone on one… you should.) But it can be difficult for my family when I go away. There’s a lot more pressure on one person who has to bear sole responsibility. It’s a challenge and it’s tiring. (Shout out to all the single parents out there… seriously… I don’t know how you do it).
In any case, I knew this was going to be a challenge for my family. As I’m preparing to leave we get into a disagreement. I honestly don’t even remember over what and that’s not the point. What I do remember is crying. Crying at the fact that I disappointed and hurt my family. Crying that I was leaving them. And before I say anything else… yes, it’s okay for men to cry. I was just a mess.
I’m standing over the kitchen sink crying and my son Andrew walks up to me. He sees me crying and he just holds my arm and my leg. He just kept holding on. He not only saw my sadness, but he felt it. Our eyes were locked on each other. In that moment I was one proud papa. My boy saw me hurting and wanted me to feel better.
Crazy thing is – it’s not the first time he’s done that. It’s the first time he comforted me in my tears, but he’s done the same thing for his friends in daycare before. He has an incredibly sensitive heart at the ripe age of 22 months. Thank you Lord for such a blessing to witness and experience.
One of my life verses and verses for ministry is Deuteronomy 6:6-9 which reads,
“6 Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. 7 Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, 9 and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
I try to always take the opportunities God gives me to instruct Andrew in the way he should go. I try to remind him of God’s love for him and to be an example. Yes… I know he’s only 22 months and there are lots of things he doesn’t understand or grasp yet. You have to start sometime. Besides, there are a lot of things I don’t understand or grasp yet, either.
But that morning, my 22 month old toddler taught me a lesson. He recited a lesson to me. He didn’t need words – he showed it. When we see people hurting in life we can ignore it or we can comfort and remind them that they are loved. Too many people go through this world hurting and too many times we ignore it because we have other things going on.
If my 22 month old toddler can show love and compassion – why can’t we? I am so proud of my son and for the lessons he teaches me daily.