Sunday, January 27, 2008


To start off, I’d like to update everyone on how Susie and the baby are doing. The baby is 13 weeks “old,” and so far so good. In the last couple weeks Susie has returned to the world of chicken-eaters, which is more like normal. She is feeling great and we’re still very excited. Today Susie bought the first thing we’ve specifically purchased for our baby. You can see the picture below. Chili is about to be a big brother, so it’s an appropriate “onesie.” I love it, and it’ll work for a boy or a girl!

One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is my example to my kid. I think about my example a lot already since I work with youth. Everyone has their own set of values and norms that they constantly are living out. My goal is to align my norms, values, actions, thoughts, and words everyday with what Jesus would model. Anyone who spends time with me would agree that I have a ways to go to achieve that. There are things that are extremely black and white, like not killing someone or not taking things that don’t belong to me. There are other things that I think are grayer areas depending on who you talk to. These are things like certain words used in everyday conversation and issues like alcohol or what kind of movies or music you take in. This concept was reinforced to me at a very young age when I called my sister a “butthead” and was immediately punished by my parents. I couldn’t figure out why I was in trouble when my cousins routinely used that name on each other and never suffered consequences. But despite my useless protests I knew that it was inappropriate.

This was also reinforced to me in the last couple years in the other direction. Susie and I were leading a Bible study with some 7th and 8th graders and I used the phrase “pissed off.” I was reprimanded by one of the girls and when I offered a rebuttal she said that she got in trouble at home for using that phrase. Her response to her mom was that “my Bible study leader says pissed off so it must be ok.” Wow, that was an eye-opener. These kids aren’t even mine and they are watching and listening and, in some cases, emulating what they see and hear. That immediately brought to mind the first verse in James 3 in a section entitled “Taming the Tongue,” which says, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” I firmly believe that anyone who is a parent is also a teacher, which is what scares me.

The first point of reference my kid has as he or she develops from infancy to early childhood and on up is going to be Susie and me. This is how it should be, but being an example is a huge job. I thought about this during church this morning when our pastor read the passage about when God gave Solomon a blank check and he asked for a discerning heart. One thing Solomon says to God in I Kings 3:7 is “But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.” That is exactly how I feel right now. The idea of becoming a dad has been so humbling because I’m forced to take a look at myself and see how inadequate I am as a role model.

Here’s something I’d never noticed before (isn’t it cool that no matter how many times you read a passage God’s word takes on the form that speaks to you best EVERY time you earnestly look at it?): At the beginning of I Kings 3 Solomon offers a sacrifice at Gibeon, which was the most important high place. He was in a position to be an example since he had just been made king, but according to God’s law sacrifices were only to be made at the tent of meeting or tabernacle since no temple had been built yet (Leviticus 17). So he was setting a poor example by sinning when he offered a sacrifice at Gibeon. However, God still gave Solomon the blank check and Solomon made the correct choice in asking for discernment. God blessed Solomon because of his choice and what I’d never noticed before is that then he returned to Jerusalem and sacrificed in the proper place. The way I see it is that when God gave him discernment he realized what he was doing wrong and the first thing he did was go and correct his example by offering a proper sacrifice.

I can identify with Solomon and say that I am inadequate and have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to being an example for a kid. I screw up so many times. I mean, I’m a fan of Quentin Tarantino films. I think he’s a completely innovative and creative guy; he breaks the mold and walks to his own beat. So I have Pulp Fiction and the Kill Bill movies in the collection here. Do I want my kid picking those up and watching them? No. So how do I reconcile that with appreciating the guy’s work? I like the Beastie Boys. I think they’ve stayed a step ahead of the rest of the music industry. Do I agree with every lyric and want my kid to immerse him or herself in their music? No. So how do I reconcile that with enjoying their originality? As you can see, I’ve still not come close to any conclusions regarding a lot of things, and I don’t know if I will in the next six months. But I long to make my example as pure and Christ-like as possible.

If anyone has any take on this, I’d love to hear it. No parent is perfect, and there comes a time in every child’s life when they recognize that, but I want to be the parent that is a rock for my child and consistently modeling a Godly lifestyle.

No comments: