Discipleship: When Our Children Teach Us

I want to share with you a story that typifies the essence of discipleship. Not only do we get to teach our children, but our children often teach us. My middle child, Luke, started kindergarten yesterday, Sept 4. I have a great job and a fantastic boss that gives me the flexibility to take my kids to school on occasion. However, days like yesterday prove to be difficult for mothers, and often less so for fathers.

Because our oldest is now in second grade, I can anticipate the emotional difficulty that waits for us. We took Luke to his classroom. My wife had her camera in one hand and the video camera in the other. As was the case with our firstborn, I figured her tears would begin soon after we left the classroom. Indeed I was correct. With our 2 year old daughter in tow, we walked toward the car. My lovely bride turned to me and through the tears managed to say, “For six years he has been my little partner…and now he’s gone.” Even as I write a day later, it’s hard for me not to get emotional.

At this point in the story, let me encourage you husbands – I needed to serve my bride. This was difficult day for her and she needed me to be a loving and understanding husband. I rarely get this part right. However, I was reminded by a good friend that I needed to serve and care for my bride, so I invited her (and my daughter) back to my office. We spent some time together and then they went to chapel with me. Eventually, they returned home for lunch and my daughter got an afternoon nap. But, my wife needed me and, honestly, a bit of a distraction before going back to a house without Luke.

Now, fast forward to the afternoon. As a parent, I am excited to hear about the life of my kids – especially their first day(s) of school. I was obviously excited to hear about Luke’s day. But I confess, I was also concerned that he too may have become emotional at some point. A full 7 hour day is a lot for a 5 year old. He didn’t share too much as we were busy getting dinner, showers, and an early bed time. However, later that evening, my wife shared one of the best stories I’ve heard in a long time:

Shelly said, “I asked him if he ever got sad during the day.”

Luke, “I almost cried once in the afternoon when I was thinking of you. But then I remembered what you told me to do if I ever began to miss you.”

Shelly, “What did you remember?”
Luke’s response: “I remembered that God is always with me and He will never leave me.”

Shelly, “We have been studying Deuteronomy 31:8, ‘The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’”

As a parent, we get to speak some amazing truth into the lives of our children. Of course, we never know what they are going to remember or when. Fortunately, God is in control. He is in control of their little lives. Lamentations 3:37-38 reminds us that nothing happens outside of God’s sovereignty. It reads, “Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?”

He can help them (and you) remember what they need and when they need it. He is merciful and gracious. We need to be faithful to teach and train our children. Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Be faithful. Train your children. Trust God that He will protect them for “God is always with me and He will never leave me.”

Thanks for the lesson Luke. I love you…more than you know.