“Be Careful Today, Dad”
Last night, Seth (our five year old) said something that troubled me. We had just gotten back from our first ever El Dorado Wildcats football game. After the boys had a quick shower, Seth and I watched a couple of plays of the Michigan State/Boise State football game – Seth was NOT happy that he had to go to bed before it was over. We had enjoyed watching most of the Vandy/South Carolina game the night before. We are overly excited about the Auburn/Clemson game tonight. Needless to say, we have been loving us some football.
My parents are in town this weekend and, during the day today, will get a personal tour of El Dorado. . . including, of course, First Baptist Church. Last night (Friday) when Seth heard that we were going to church tomorrow (Saturday) he made it VERY clear that he did NOT want to go to church at all, especially on a Saturday!
That troubled me. Not because he loves football. Not because he didn’t want to go to the church on Saturday. Not because he pitched a fit (well, that troubled me too – but for a different reason!). It troubled me because it was very clear that he is passionate about what his daddy is passionate about.
I know, I know: It is OKAY that Seth loves football. Believe me, I am thrilled that he does. I was not troubled by that. I am glad he is excited about the game tonight. In fact, I am typing this post while wearing a bright orange Auburn shirt (War Eagle). I am troubled because his affections were a reflection of my own heart. He was modeling the passion he saw in his daddy.
I don’t have a practical, 3-step plan for how to answer this – but I do know that at least the question needs to be asked: “How will Seth (or Katie or Birti or Luke) wake up TOMORROW morning (Sunday) in anticipation of great things happening as compared to today (Saturday)?” Know what I have been talking about all week long with Seth? Auburn playing Clemson on Saturday night and how exciting it will be and how much fun we will have. Again, there is NOTHING wrong with that! But do you know how much I have been talking with Seth about how incredible Sunday is going to be in anticipation of how God will work in our lives? ZERO. That’s what is wrong.
You may say, “Matt, give yourself a break! College football only comes around certain times of the year – it’s not like it is every week like church is.” I get that. I do. There is a difference and there is something exciting about the long awaited time to finally be here. Truth be told, however, I don’t EVER talk to the kids about how fun Sunday is going to be because of what God is going to do. You know why? Their daddy doesn’t live with that anticipation. And I’m a pastor!!! Help me, Lord!
Dads, I urge you to have fun today. Enjoy watching the game(s). Wear your colors. Yell loud. Get mad at the refs (not really . . . unless, of course, they make some bad calls in favor of Alabama). Eat some chips and drink some Diet Coke. But remember: Your kids are watching and they know what you are passionate about. They know where your hearts affections ultimately lie. In fact, more than likely, they will end up loving what you authentically love.
“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction. . . ” (Proverbs 1:8a)
“As in water face reflects face, so the heart of a man reflects the man.” (Proverbs 27:19)
Be careful today, dad.