Yesterday was my son’s birthday. He turned seven. My wife took him Subway to his school for lunch and got his whole class cupcakes. His teacher sent him home a certificate. It said, “Love, Mrs. Preston.” I thought that was beautiful. She put “Love.”
Kids need to know people love them.
My little boy a few years back.
When he got home he wanted to open gifts. He got some cars with a racetrack, a Pokemon hat and Pokemon shirt, and an art set. That’s what he wanted. He also wanted the little Nerf basketball goal off of his sister’s door, the kind that clip on to the top. She had been acting like she wouldn’t give it to him in a million years for the past few weeks, but she wrapped it up and gave it to him for his birthday. I thought that was pretty great, that she would do that. I don’t know if she was tricking him all along or if she had a sudden change of heart, but that she would give up something of hers so that he could have it was really great.
Kids need to be sacrificed for, even if it’s in little ways.
7th Birthday Pose
We ate his favorite meal for supper. He requested meatloaf and mashed potatoes and corn. He didn’t want any cake. Just ice cream. He got Thin Mint ice cream, with big chunks of those Girl Scout cookies mixed in. The whole meal was delicious. Over dinner we read Facebook comments that had been left for him on my wife’s and my pages. There were several dozen, plus dozen more “likes” on his picture my wife had posted. We read them one after the other. It took a long time. He smiled as he heard them, remembering people from long ago as well as hearing from people he doesn’t even know.
Kids need to know they have friends.
After we all digested a little bit we jumped on the trampoline, all four of us. We jumped and wrestled and goofed off and laughed a lot. Our dog ran around the yard wondering what was going on. My wife and I were tired, but we laughed and jumped and had fun.
Kids need that. They need to have fun.
When I tucked my son into bed last night I said, “You’re a cool dude. I’m thankful for you.” “I’m thankful for you, too, daddy,” he said, and gave me a big hug around the neck. Then he farted and giggled, because he’s seven and that’s what boys do when they’re seven. Some of them never grow out of it, in fact.
Most nights when I tuck my son into bed I pray something like, “Lord, please help Malachi grow up to be a big strong man who loves you and serves you with all his heart, and helps people who can’t help themselves.” I pray that because I realize I’m not raising a son.
I’m raising a man.
My 7 year old when he was still 6, last month in the Dominican Republic helping to build a second story on a home there.
My son just turned 7, but in the blink of an eye he’ll be 27. I’m not so worried about how good he is at being a kid, but I’m real concerned with what kind of adult he’ll become. So I pray that prayer and I try to be a good dad because I want him to be a good man. I’m not raising a son. I’m raising a husband and a dad and a teacher or preacher or doctor or artist or construction worker or farmer or who knows what. He needs love and sacrifice and friends and all that stuff. All kids do.
Because someday they’ll be grownups who need to love and sacrifice and give and be a friend to someone else.
Even though I usually pray that my son will grow up to love Jesus and serve Jesus and be a big strong man who helps other people, last night I didn’t. Instead I told him I wanted him to spend a few minutes talking to Jesus on his own and I walked out of the room. Because I’m not raising a kid who will always have his dad to talk to God on his behalf.
I’m raising a man who needs to be able to do that on his own.
I don’t know what he prayed, but I hope he thanked God for Mrs. Preston and meatloaf and Pokemon and friends and trampolines. I hope he thanked God for his family. I hope he realizes that we’re not perfect but Jesus is. And I hope as he drifted off to sleep he thought about twenty years from now and prayed that he’d be a big strong man who loved and served Jesus with all his heart.