There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish”. – The Bible: Book of John – 6:9
here was a “young boy”, a small boy. All we know about him comes from 12 words; few words producing many lessons.
As a Dad I am to teach my children life lessons: look before crossing the street; open the door for others (and graciously accept when others open them for you); love God and love your mom; stand straight and walk confidently into every room, you may not know who or what waits in a room but you know who you are and who walks every step with you.
I’m also to pay attention. Like the small boy brought a small gift, my children also bring gifts. These gifts, just seeds at this point, I had nothing to do with creating. But like the boy’s offering, the ripple effects of these seeds are endless.
These seeds are the result of thoughts, uncountable precious thoughts, from their Creator. First revealed by a child in a single look, a single act, a reaction to a situation, all hinting at eventual personality and character traits. My children don’t consciously offer these seeds for growth, they simply hand them over, the same as the lad offering up his fish and bread. The boy knew what he had in the present, 5 loaves and 2 fish, and he offered them into another’s hands for care. As a boy, he had no way of predicting the growth potential of these seeds. He only understood that he had something to offer and who to trust with it.
I cannot transform the gifts from my children in the present, immediately “feed(ing) five thousand”. I am not capable of miracles, and their seeds are not capable to produce such fruit (yet). But as a dad my job is to recognize and nurture these gifts throughout childhood, adolescence and teen years; watering, weeding, feeding, pruning and nurturing, always learning how to better care for these gifts, especially when they are unfamiliar to me (gifts that I don’t possess). It’s my job to actively seek out wisdom to apply. It’s my job to see these gifts exceed my own, as generation built on generation are meant to. One day, many days from now, by recognizing and tenderly handling these gifts today, my children may impact the lives of five thousand, ten thousand, more?
I cannot fumble these gifts; in this regard I am a steward, someone endowed by God and trusted by my children. So on a future day, when a child leaves for a first day at ski school, to their first week-long summer camp away from family, to a summer job with 40 hours a week of unknown influences, for freshman year at college, or when deployed overseas, I can return those seeds back as gifts, matured by years of care. Gifts grown strong over the days and years under my watch, with deep and wide roots that cannot be moved, with branches pruned ready to produce fruit. Ultimately so my children can be who they’re created to be, to give their gifts back to their Creator, and to others.
A man once realized “Who am I to give back what is already Yours…”
Funny thing is this; in the end, is it about the gifts of my children or is it about a gift to me?
I am so thankful to be a Dad.
Note: Parent, spouse, friend, mentor, boss or employer – In these roles consider today how to accept and nurture what others are trusting to you.