The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
A woman in Chicago in the late 1800s entreated her husband to go with her to hear DL Moody preach. “I’m going to the bar,” he replied. He walked into the winter cold of the Windy City to make his way to a favorite watering hole. It wasn’t long before he heard a “crunch, crunch” behind him and he was surprised to see his little son trying to catch up. “Where are you going?” the man asked.
“I’m going with you, Daddy,” the little boy said. “See? I am walking just like you are!”
The boy was practicing the age-old ritual of trying to walk in his father’s footsteps. His little legs were stretched to the point that the boy was leaping at times in order to put each of his feet in the snowy footsteps of his dad.
“Where am I going?” the man thought. With tears in his eyes, he gathered the little boy in his arms and turned around. That night, he whispered to his wife, “I’m going forward,” after Moody had given the invitation, and that man’s life changed forever. So did his son’s.
Do you remember the song Harry Chapin sang in 1974 that touched a nation’s heart? It was called, “Cat’s in the Cradle.”
My child arrived just the other day, He came to the world in the usual way. But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay. He learned to walk while I was away. And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew, He’d say, “I’m gonna be like you, dad. You know I’m gonna be like you.”
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon, Little boy blue and the man in the moon. “When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when, But we’ll get together then. You know we’ll have a good time then.”
My son turned ten just the other day. He said, “Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let’s play. Can you teach me to throw?” I said, “Not today, I got a lot to do.” He said, “That’s OK.” And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed, Said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah. You know I’m gonna be like him.”
Well, he came from college just the other day, So much like a man I just had to say, “Son, I’m proud of you. Can you sit for a while?” He shook his head, and he said with a smile, “What I’d really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys. See you later. Can I have them please?”
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon, Little boy blue and the man in the moon. “When you coming home, son?” “I don’t know when, But we’ll get together then, dad. You know we’ll have a good time then.”
I’ve long since retired and my son’s moved away. I called him up just the other day. I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind.” He said, “I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time. You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kid’s got the flu, But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad. It’s been sure nice talking to you.” And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me, He’d grown up just like me. My boy was just like me.
We only get one chance, dads, so let’s make it count.
Prayer: “Lord, help me live today with the understanding that my actions help shape my child’s character.”
Action: Talk with your oldest son about that song and ask his forgiveness if you have been too busy.