with 2 kids under age 4, every evening is an ordeal getting the packages securely into bed. we would love to be the parents with always-consistent-routines and self-discipline that never allows for deviations, but those kinds of nights rarely happen for us. most nights, shanna and i look at each other and without words say “i don’t care how you do it, just get this one into bed, and get them into bed quick.” to be honest, many nights we feel like a struggling high school football team just trying to get something on the scoreboard… it doesn’t have to be pretty, just get the ball across the goal line.
whether they brushed their teeth or not, whether i remembered to change his diaper or get her in pajamas, whether they got 2 songs and a story or neither… i try really hard to be consistent with one thing: i try to always pray in front of them before they go to sleep.
the prayer changes from day to day. often we thank God for something we got to experience during the day, or someone we got to share some time with. we sometimes pray for the people we plan to interact with tomorrow, and we even include knock-knock jokes from time to time to see if Jesus will laugh. most everything we pray about changes from one night to the next, but there’s one thing that almost always stays the same.
with rare exceptions, i pray every night that my kids grow up walking closely with Jesus.
here’s what i know: as parents, we all have dreams for our kids.
and none of them are bad…
- we want them to be successful,
- and athletic,
- and musical,
- and good looking,
- with good people skills,
- and a hard work-ethic.
- we want them to have just enough self-esteem,
- but not too much arrogance.
- we want them to have good jobs,
- have good friends,
- be good friends,
- have a sense of humor,
- get good grades,
- go to a good college,
- and go there with a full scholarship.
- we want them to not be interested in dating until they’re 30,
- and eventually marry the right person (that we select ourselves),
- avoiding every form of pain and hardship,
- and be self-sufficient enough to support us in our later years.
but to me, the most important thing – more important than anything on the list above – is simply that they get to a point where they understand that life only makes sense through an authentic relationship with Jesus, and that that relationship isn’t the side show in their life, or the thing they do on the weekend, but that it is the life-blood of everything they are.
maybe it’s because pastor’s kids get it rough, and many times come out the other end jaded by the church. and maybe i’m paranoid that my own kids will someday interpret what i do for a living as a job rather than a calling. but i just want them to know the Jesus i know, not because they “inherited” this faith or because they want to please their parents, but because they honestly searched it out themselves and came to the same conclusion that i did one day.
there are many things down the road that will affect this dream, for better or for worse, and more of it is out of my control than i’d like to admit. but i can pray about it. and i can pray about it every night.