BAGS…are used to carry many and varying things. Groceries, food, trash, leaves, make-up, clothes—you name it. They come in plastic, leather, cloth and paper—some are fancy and expensive, while others are just a plain old brown paper bag. Speaking of which; wasn’t it fun as a kid to blow up a small paper bag and pop it, especially behind some kid in grade school.
We might even be addressing those bulges under your eyes after loss of several nights of sleep. But you know, this does happen to us dads as we attempt to teach and disciple our children and we don’t see any positive results; even rebellion against most everything in which we believe. It will make you lose sleep big time! At least, it did me. I evidently had not learned and embraced Philippians 4.6,7.
When I was having lunch last week with Tim Wilson, a father of three grown children, he shared a story that relates to this subject. When his children were younger he was on a retreat with some of his children. A man and his 21-year-old daughter were the teachers for the weekend. During the first three sessions, the father taught the dads and the daughter worked with the children. On the final session, they switched.
Her message to the dads went something like this. When she was younger, she did listen to what her father taught her, but did not always live everything out in her life at the time based on what he was teaching her. Thus, she packed away much of what she had seen and heard in her mental bag, although she was not outwardly living by all of it. Only when she was older and at college did she start reflecting on the things that she had been taught. She started to ‘unpack’ all of his teaching again and began applying the rest of his life lessons.
She encouraged Tim and the other men to not lose hope when you pour into your children and at times not see the fruit of your teaching. But to be encouraged that they may hear it and will come back to it as the Scriptures promise. The message is to continue to be constant in your teaching, discipleship and modeling; because while the children may not be showing it at the time, they are most likely packing it away in their ‘bag’ and it will become useful at the right time. Doesn’t this remind you of Proverbs 22.6? “Train up a child in the way that he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Dads, let’s listen and learn from this young, wise 21-year-old daughter. The message that comes through to me is to be consistent, in season and out of season, to keep on keeping on, even when you do not see immediate results. But you do need to ask yourself; “so, what am I providing that they are packing in their ‘life bag’?” As you are careful about what you pack in their lunch bag for school, you need to be even more sensitive to what they will have stored in their ‘life bag’. Much of it will have an eternal impact.
It begs the question; “so, what’s in your kid’s bag?”