15 November 2009

If I Listen

About a month ago my two boys were in the backyard playing. Still warm outside, they were running around the pool, laughing, being boys.

My six-years-old, Lucas, stopped and told his four-year-old brother, Tristan, “I have a loose tooth. Punch it out.”

It might seem improbable that a four-year-old could knock his brother’s tooth out. But Tristan has an orange belt in karate and he knows how to throw a reasonable punch.

Lucas stood still like a soldier, smiling, offering an easy target to his brother. Tristan took aim, let out a little laugh full of excitement, and with his left fist started pounding his brother in the teeth ... They were both laughing.


Raising children is hard.

Just when I figure my boys out, they change. They are always getting smarter and learning new tricks. – At the same time, I make a lot of mistakes. I get impatient. I jump to conclusions. I don’t always listen to them when I should. I yell...

One time I yelled at Tristan so loud he looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Daddy you’re making my heart shake.” Talk about feeling like a parent in need of remedial training.

I need God’s help in many areas of my life, but none more than in the area of raising my children. It is an awesome responsibility. I’m not perfect, but I know if I ask, and if I listen, my Father in heaven will guide me.


In his bathing suit Lucas walked up to me with a big smile on his face, blood dripping down his chin. “Look Dad!” He stretched out his hand. “I lost another tooth!” Tristan was standing proud by his side.

“You sure did. Let me see it.”

I love those boys so much. As they ran back and did cannonballs into the pool, I shook my head with a grin on my face and thanked God again for being a God of second chances.


  1. Amen!

    Who knew this would be the toughest, yet most amazing job in the entire world!

  2. I've had that 'daddy you breaking my heart' speech one too many times... but I seem to be too thick skulled to learn!

  3. The other day I was especially weary after a quick trip to the store stretched into four hours and numerous short trips while we gave Grandma a helping hand. Age 11 Joshua gets 10 cents each time he catches me speeding more than 5 over (cheaper than a ticket or accident). He'd caught me a record number of times that day already, and we were almost home when he caught me again. Defeated by the afternoon, I asked him to show me mercy. Abigail (8) asked why I wanted mercy, explaining that the Veggie Tales definition of mercy is to see someone in trouble and help them. Joshua offered, "It's also giving someone another chance." Then he demonstrated it by shrugging off the dime.

    Then there's almost 5 Daniel, who's especially sensitive to putting things in order. If his father and mother speak in tones of tension, and he senses stress in me, he'll insist we stop talking.

    When I look at my children, I know my God is merciful to teach me gently through them in moments when I most need it and least deserve it.

  4. Thanks to all three of you... :-)

    Bridget - I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

    Peter - Maybe we are designed to screw up so God the Father looks appealing to our kids... :-) I'm with you, Bro.

    Anne - We learn so much through our kids. As a counselor I'd like to point out, if you made a commitment to give Joshua $20.00 every time you went 5 miles over the limit, I bet you would stop speeding entirely... :-)

  5. good post and that photo is a keeper

  6. Thanks nAncy - That is a picture of the actual offenders... :-)

  7. Great story! I don't have the challenge or pleasure of raising boys, but I do have 3 little girls that I love! While nobody's punched anyone else in the face yet, they have a manipulative streak a mile wide.

    Something a friend of mine said helps me a lot. "We don't really know that our children are believers, but we do know that they are human. Humans are inherently bad, so how can we expect anything other than bad from them?" Of course they do good things every now and then, and they are gifts from God.

  8. Ken - Three Girl! I had three sisters . . . better you than me brother . . . :-)

    Blessings and thanks for commenting...