I want to try to post a small series of ways you can make your children feel special, based on my experience being raised by my mom and dad.
Parents do not struggle to talk about their kids. I sometimes get the feeling that some people take joy in talking negatively about their kids, like it’s almost cathartic for them. When I say, “talk about your kids,” I’m obviously not speaking of this nonsense. In fact, I highly discourage you talk about your kids in a negative light to other people, because they just may find out what you’re saying about them.
I heard what my dad said about me. He didn’t know I was in the room and listening, but I was. I stopped what I was doing to listen. My dad has taught Sunday school for years, and for a long time, his class met in the auditorium. I joined the tech ministry at our church, which meant I had to leave my class early to go set up the computer, which was located in the balcony of the main auditorium. So I would listen to my dad teach, because I think he’s funny and interesting. I had been sitting through the second half of his class for weeks, and I never told him. It just didn’t occur to me to tell him. Then one Sunday, I’m half listening and half paying attention to the pastor’s powerpoint presentation, to make sure it was legible (God bless him, he must have really liked the colors blue and red, because he had red text on dark blue backgrounds a lot. That’s not very legible). So as I’m updating the color scheme, I hear my dad say my name, so I stopped and listened. He wanted to tell his class about me.
I don’t know what my dad was teaching about that day, but I assume it had to do with love or marriage. He wanted to give his class an example of how a husband should love his wife, and he chose me. He talked about how much he had seen me grow, how I was someone anyone could look up to – even him – and how I lived out the verses in Ephesians about a man loving his wife like Christ loved the church. I sat in stone silence, mouth slightly agape, listening to the man I’ve always looked up to more than anyone telling his Sunday school class – comprised of mostly senior citizens – that I was someone to look up to and follow. I had tears in my eyes. That was the day I told him that I had been attending his Sunday school for weeks, and I thanked him for what he said.
He reminded me that he had said those same things to my face a number of times, but somehow, hearing him talk about me meant more than hearing him talk to me. He could have said anything. He could have said nothing at all. He chose to praise me to his peers.
Why do I talk about Jakob so much? Because I hope he one day remembers the first time he noticed that I talk about him. And I’m very careful about what I say about him, because I want that to be a great memory for him, just as it was for me.
Happy Father’s Day, especially to my dad, John Selph. If only all dads could be like him.