We all like to learn from mentors or respected teachers. If you are a church goer, your pastor or Bible study leader teaches you on a weekly basis. In the workplace, more than likely you have a co-worker or boss who guides you. Sometimes, however, we can learn life’s greatest truths from the most unlikely sources.
A few weekends ago, I took a Father-Son trip with our youngest son, Lincoln. When our twins were in Kindergarten (five years ago), we started a tradition of getting away for a weekend to celebrate the milestone of starting school. My time away with Lincoln was incredible. We flew out on a Saturday, and came back on a Monday, and spent three days touring and enjoying the best of Atlanta. We made some great memories and laughed a ton. More than anything, our time away deepened our father-son bond and gave us a shared experience we will each always remember.
In addition to having a great time, I learned or re-learned four valuable lessons from my six-year old:
1. I want to live life with more joy.
Joy is different from happiness. Happiness is often linked with circumstances, whereas joy is more of a lifestyle mindset. Biblically when I think of joy, I think of the apostle Paul, who in the book of Philippians, writes from a prison cell and challenges the readers to rejoice in the Lord, regardless of circumstances. (Philippians 4:4, see also 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). My ‘joy’ tends to masquerade itself as happiness, because it is so often tied to my circumstances.
Yes, my six-year old cries and pitches fits on occasion, but he is the most joyful child I have ever seen, who consistently smiles, knows no stranger, and finds joy in almost every situation.
2. I want to be silly more often.
Man… I have gotten so uptight over the years. I remember I used to laugh and cut up a lot more, with my wife, family, and friends. Now I feel like I am uptight and schedule-driven almost all of the time.
One of the highlights of our trip was sitting in a Moe’s, listening to the music in the restaurant and literally dancing in our booth and up and down the aisles together. We laughed so hard. Even after getting back home I have tried to laugh and be silly with my kids and wife more often.
Several times throughout the weekend, Lincoln wanted to know where we were headed. Each time I told him to trust daddy and enjoy the surprise when we arrived. His response each time was a simple, “Yes sir, Daddy.”
I long to have a simple, childlike faith that trusts the Father. A faith that trusts the giver of the gift, knowing that every good and perfect gift comes from above, and that I trust the One who gives the gift (James 1:16-18, Luke 11:13). So often, I choose to not trust God; rather, I want to know the details instead of simply trusting Him.
4. I want to slow down more often.
Lincoln moves at a snail’s pace. Sometimes it drives me crazy: when he ties his shoes, when he takes forever to eat a meal, when he needs to clean up his room, etc… On our trip, I found myself frustrated at how long it took Lincoln to go to the bathroom and wash his hands. In frustration, I almost snapped at him to hurry up, until I realized we had no place to go, no deadline, nothing pushing our time-table. Yet, I found myself anxiously wanting to move more quickly.
I want to live life at a much slower pace instead of constantly rushing and running around. At a minimum, I want to create margin in my schedule so I am not always time-crunched.
Four Priceless lessons learned
You know the famous credit card commercials: Baseball game tickets: $20, Hot Dog, $4.00, Popcorn, $5.00. Creating memories with your kids: Priceless. This is how I would characterize this trip with Lincoln. Yes, there are expenses like hotel, flight, and car. But, the memories created and lessons learned along the way: Priceless.
Very Simple: live life with more joy, be silly more often, grow in my childlike faith and slow down more often. Priceless.
- Read Part 2 – One Investment in Your Child You’ll Never Regret
- Take some time today to learn from some likely and unlikely sources. Maybe it’s your children. Maybe it’s someone who works for you at your workplace. Maybe it’s your mentor.
- What’s something you are learning from an unlikely source?