I was driving during the holidays to visit family. With a wife and 3 girls in the car we had to take a bathroom break, upsetting my “set a travel time record” mentality. We took a break at one of the mega rest stops off the turnpike. The place was pretty crowded with holiday travelers, and I ended up sitting at a table just next to a family of 4.
Now that my children are grown or growing up, I truly enjoy the voices of young children. I can still recall clearly my daughters’ childhood voices…it’s a great source of joy for me. One of children at the table next to me was a talker. About 10 years old, she was trying hard to get her father’s attention. “Daddy, when we get home can I…Daddy, what do you want for Christmas…Daddy, Daddy…” As I was listening, I realized I wasn’t hearing any response from the dad, so I looked over and saw that he was looking completely the other way, not hearing a word his daughter was saying. He wasn’t even there…wasn’t where he needed to be. Eventually the little girl stopped trying…but she kept looking up at him with hopeful expectation that he was going to respond. But he never did.
I, of course, have no way of knowing his circumstances or his thoughts. And I know that there were times as a young father that I was just as guilty of not engaging with my girls when they needed me. Oh, how I long for the opportunity to go back and do it differently. I certainly am not judging that father, but it brought to mind how easily the distractions of the day and of the world can take our focus off the attention needed by our children.
Isn’t this the same way we respond to God’s voice and prompting, focusing instead on more trivial and transient distractions? Thinking the guidance of these distractions is more important than God’s guidance? This is exactly where Satan wants you, and when signals warning about danger should start sounding in your heart.
Today and every day, try to really connect with your children or loved ones. After Jesus, these people in your life are the greatest gift God gives. They are also the most important mission field most of us are ever called to. The easiest way to start showing your love, respect, and honor for them is by giving them your full attention when they are talking to you. But more importantly, when God is talking to you, stop and listen!
Dear Father God, I know that being faithful parents and guiding our children toward You is very important to You. Help me and all parents truly listen to our children and to make them feel secure and loved…and through us, get to know the security and love You are excited to give them. Give all parents the wisdom and strength for this most important task of parenting. I pray in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children said – AMEN!
When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”