Where does the time go? Why do we only have them for a few 18 years then their off into the world? Who came up with that? If I fine out, I would like to have a little talk with them behind the wood shed. I can't help but wonder to myself. " Was I a good enough father to them?" " Did I teach them all they need to know?" " Did I share all the important stuff?" The " What if" statements in life can sometimes bring you down. I simply am amazed of how they turned out. They are both working and looking to the future for their lives. I can not tell them enough of how proud I am of them.
Being a father is an amazing experience which comes with great joy and sometimes great regret. I think about my experiences with my two boys. Before my girls were born I had about 3 years just devoted to my sons. I would hold them , get on the floor and play with their toys with them, change their diapers or pull ups, wrestle and tickle them, fall asleep on the couch with them, read bible stories, tell them made up stories, and much more fatherly fun stuff. I was also very strict. My boys experienced less freedom than my daughters did. Sometimes I felt like I went overboard but I was a learning father trying to be a better parent than my parents were. Unfortunately our first borns are tools for our initiation into the paternal experience. Sometimes they get the best of us and the worst of us. I am thankful for God's precious mercy and grace. I have tried throughout the years to be a father like my Heavenly father. I must say that I have not always been the best example. Sometimes I allowed my impatient attitude get the best of me. Sometimes I responded in anger when correcting my children and sometimes I punished them based off of my embarrassment instead of teaching them a lesson. However, my kids will tell you today that I am more of the calm parent who corrected them appropriately. In fact my kids call me Dr. Phil because I try to talk out the situations and reason with them. I try to get them to see the mistake and then I bring the correction to fit the crime.
I hope I have left my Sons with the knowledge of how to raise their future children and I hope I have left them with the knowledge of how to raise their children better than I have. I hope I have shown my sons on how to live for Jesus and how important it is to follow Him. Ever since they were little , they have seen their dad in ministry. I have tried to balance out work, ministry, and family life throughout the years. I have never made my children feel like they had to hold up to some undisclosed standard because they were pastor's kids. I have always taught them to be themselves. Andrew being the hyper one was always being told to sit still in church and to stop running around. I have video tapes of my preaching and me having to stop the message to calm my hyper son down. It is funny to watch. Andrew and Joel were always the big helpers in the ministry as well. They would bring me my bible. They would start the church service off by praying or preaching a little message. Now messages from a 5 and 3 year old are neat to hear. " Jesus said you need to come to Him or you are going to go to Hell." Andrew would preach this allot. Joel would get up and share the loving message of Christ. " Jesus loves you all very much and you can come to Him." Both Andrew and Joel would share their visions that God would show them and declare the word of the Lord that way. It was a blessing to watch. There were times when my sons would be seen praying over people and preaching to them.
Now my two boys had their moments. Sometimes they would fight. One day Andrew through a toy car at Joel's head. Joel still has the scare for that. Poor Guy! Joel would get Andrew back by giving him out witted banter. For the most part my boys grew up without any major scraps and bruises. They did not have any broken bones. Now Joel had stitches for a head injury. A water fountain in our house did not sit right with him. Andrew as a rumbustious 1 year old had to spend a night in the hospital for licking the straw from a 409 bottle. Joel did have his moment of going down a hill on his bike at high speeds and finally hitting a huge rock. Andrew decided to be a dare-devil in his walker and jump off the steps. Like I said for the most part they came through life unscathed.
Now I choose to remember the fun times we all had. I remember the bug watching adventures and historical enclaves to different places. I remember the water park rides and the ice cream cone socials. I remember the family worship times and the family talent shows. Life was an adventure with my boys. I remember the times of childhood questioning and the answers would sometimes spawn more questions. I remember laughing at jokes that were not very funny and coloring pages ripped out from a coloring book. I remember the Lego building times and the Rescue Hero adventures. I remember the late nights staying up , holding them, and praying that God would heal them from their sickness. I remember the diaper changes and the potty trainings. I remember our few camping trips and fishing times together. The karate matches and school girl crushes. The kite flying outings and football throwings. I can't forget our hiking trips and bike riding adventures either. I wish we could go back in time and bottle up all those memories into a looking glass. I would hide them in my pocket and retrieve them when my missing heart begins to beat harder.
My prayer is that I have instilled into my sons all that is true and just. I pray that they will fully serve the Lord and find their place in Him. My hope is that I can influence them greatly in their adult lives. I want to take on the role as mentor for them. I pray they will see me as such. As they venture out into their adult lives, I hope they remember their dear ole dad. I hope they realize how proud I am of them and how much I love them greatly.