Sunday, September 09, 2007

Time for What is Important

For the first time I attended the Dads-N-Lads retreat at Nebraska Youth Camp. It was a lot of fun and good, clean, quality time to spend with the boys. It dawned on my just how limited my time is with my boys. The oldest will be graduating from High School soon, and the others will not be far behind him. They asked me last year to take them, but I was "too busy." For the life of me, I cannot remember what was so all-fired important that I couldn't take my boys to a father-son retreat. There are a lot of things that seem "important" now, but who is going to care a year from now? On the other hand, we will remember this weekend for a lifetime. There were several firsts for us, such as paintball.

"As Iron Sharpens Iron." That was the theme. Fathers sharpen sons, and yes, sons can even sharpen fathers. So much personal, emotional, and spiritual growth comes through raising sons. No wonder the Psalmist writes concerning sons, "Blessed is he who has a quiver full of them."

Nothing can take the place of "quantity time" together. I have heard people say, "Even though we can't have quantity time together, we still have quality time together and that is what counts." That seems to be a bunch of hogwash. When I go rent a go cart in go cart races with my boys, we want as much time as possible. If all we get is 10 seconds of "quality" racing time, we feel like we have been ripped off. We want the full 15 minutes of race time. Why would it be any different with time spent together with the ones you care about?

The passage from Deuteronomy six about passing your faith on to your kids assumes both quality and quantity time:

"These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up" (Dt 6:6-7).

This tells me that I need to be a prevailing presence in the lives of my boys. Isn't my Heavenly Father a prevailing presence in my own life? I do not think that He gets so busy that he doesn't have time for me. There are so many other things he could attend to that are larger than I am. Yet he blesses me every day with His nearness. God Almighty, my Father. What a model for me to follow! There are many big, important things I could do. Perhaps the biggest is the smallest -- like my three boys.