Maturity

imageThis is a picture of Petr and Andrej playing with Uncle Charlie in the waves at Cammy’s cousin’s beach house in Carlsbad.

I do not know if my memory is bad, or the data is lost, but I searched and search and looked for a post about this from 4 years ago.  I could not find it.

Just before we left for Africa, we took the boys up to Carlsbad to see some family for the last time.  We even got to see Cammy’s cousin  Kevin and his wife Jann.  They are now in Cameroon with Wycliffe.

I learned an important lesson that day.  The boys were, of course, a lot younger then, and I think the waves were bigger.  Knowing that we were going to be living in Nairobi, over a day’s journey to the ocean, I wanted to boys to experience playing in the waves.  I took Petr out on a body board to catch a wave.  He was completely afraid.  He has always been a good boy, so he was very polite about it, but he kept saying, “Daddy I do not want to go,” through his tears.  It was a difficult moment for a father.  What to do?  I decided that the benefits of having done it would outweigh the pain of going through the experience.  It was a lot like his Disneyland experience later on.  He cried and repeated, “I do not want to,” as we waited for the right wave to come.  I pushed him on the board and he rode the wave all the way in.  As soon as he stood up, he turned around and exclaimed, “Let’s do it again!”

It was such a great object lesson, I used it over and over from the pulpit in Africa.  So often we are faced with something our Father tells us we must do.  We cry, kick, scream, and do anything we can to get out of it, all to often succeeding.  But on those rare occasions we do see it through, the first words out of our mouth are often, “Let’s do it again.”

It was a great joy to see the boys doing what was once too scary and enjoying it all on their own.  Maturity, it is within my reach as well.

Significant Moments

Wednesday night was “curriculum night” at Petr and Andrej’s school.  They boys went to my parent’s house and Cammy, Zach and I went to their school to meet and hear from their teachers what they would be learning this year.  As part of the evening, both teachers had papers ready for us to write a note to our child to leave in their desk.  I was holding Zach in Andrej’s class and he got a little noisy so I ended up doing painful laps around the school building and Cammy wrote the note to Andrej.  In Petr’s class, Zach had to be fed so Cammy went out and I wrote the note to Petr.  It was not a super deep message, but I did attempt to reveal my heart to him.  It felt to me like a significant moment in father-son relations.

The next day after work I got to see the boys at home.  I saw Andrej first, so I put my arms around him and asked how his day was.  I got a very unemotional “good,” to which I have become accustomed.  I asked if he had a note at his desk and he replied he did, but he had not read it yet. “Had not read it?!” I said to myself.  Cammy and I have been married for 12 years, but even today, if she were to write me a note, I would read it right away and ignore anything else I had to do.  But Andrej is not a big reader so I should not have been shocked.

A little later I saw Petr.  I sat close and put my arm around him.  I asked him the same two questions. The first one produced the same response as his brother. To the second, he said, “I was confused about who wrote the note. At first I thought it was mom, but then it said, ‘Love Dad.'”  I asked a few more probing questions and realized that my message had completely missed the mark.  What I thought was a significant moment was nothing more than a small bump in an otherwise mundane day for him.

Before I got too low, I realized this was another teachable moment… for me.  My boys were once again a mirror for me to see my own shortcomings in my relationship with my Father.  How many times has He set up significant Father-son moments with me, and I just miss it?  More than a note, he has given me the bible, the greatest “love letter” ever written.  How often do I take it for granted, forgetting the significance of Who wrote it, or why?

I love my boys, and I will continue pouring my heart into them.  But thanks be to God that He does not weary or lose patients with us, no matter how many times we blow Him off.

Let the season begin

You cannot make out much in this photo, but that is OK.  What you may not be able to see is that Petr, of the Fireballs U10 team, is walking back to midfield after scoring a hat trick in his preseason game. Last year he was on a great team, in fact they won their region.  This may have contributed to his lack of tenacity, letting the other players do the work.  He was also a year younger. I do not think his team will go as far this year, but that may be a benefit for Petr.  He knows that he has to get things done, and showed he was willing to do it.

I told both the boys, $1 per goal.  I am looking forward to an expensive season.

It gives me a lot of hope as well.  We can all come through.