Monday, February 05, 2007

One of the difficulties my son had, was remembering what was his when he went...anywhere. On Sunday mornings, he would go and participate in services. When it was time to leave after, one of us would often have to go in search of him. He routinely got involved in things important to him.

His mind would focus so on what he had been doing, that he would fail to remember things he brought with him. Upon arrival at home, we would discover that he left his Bible at church. This scene played out frequently.

When he went to spend the night at a friends house, he would often forget part of the clothing he came with. To this day, one of his (and our) favorite soccer jerseys vanished from the face of the earth. We've moved three times since then. I think it might be gone forever. I always expect to one day see someone sporting that jersey.

I cannot count the number of articles of clothing that were left behind...somewhere. Relatives homes, friends houses, even the occasional birthday party with someone we didn't know well, he endowed each of them with part of his collection.

We talked about this on too many occasions. I am sure he got sick of hearing it. I am equally sure there were times we nearly came to the end of our joy in trying to find what was lost.

I suppose the extreme of this were the cold winter mornings when he would have no coat to wear, because he had forgotten it at...wherever.

It always seemed to bother us more than it did him. Believe me, we routinely asked him if he had everything when he came to the car to go home. Sometimes, we ran down a mental checklist of what we had seen him come with.

Backpack? Check.
Coat? Check.
Hat? Check.
Sweater? Check.
Homework? Check.
Cello? Check.

Somehow, it did not seem to matter if we asked. There was often something that he did not pack in his bookbag, or had left in his locker. Something we did not remember he had with him.

Initially, when he would forget his homework at school, we made trips back to pick it up so that he could get it done. When it became clear he was learning that we would ALWAYS bail him out, we had to change our approach.

We discovered that the best tool to teach him about responsibility, was to let natural consequences replace our parental safety net. If he forgot his coat, then he would be cold going to school the next day. If he forgot his homework, he had to deal with the bad grade he would receive.

This was not an easy step for us. We felt like bad parents. Who would let their child go to school with a light jacket, when it was snowing outside? (Apparently everyone. Deanna tells me their are literally piles of coats in the lost and found at school).

While natural consequences can be difficult for the parent to allow to happen, they simultaneously teach our children how to be responsible.

Jesus was not being a "bad child" when he remained behind in His Father's house, at the age of 12. He had learned to take care of himself. His parents had taught him to be responsible. He had to fend for himself for food and sleeping arrangements during those three days while his frantic parents searched.

Being a parent brings about the "frantic" mindset from time to time.

With BJ, we had to learn to let him make the mistakes himself. When he did, he usually learned, and paid closer attention.

At the age of 14, he raised nearly $3,000 without our help, because he knew he needed to be busy about his Father's business. That money covered his passage to Peru. His obedience made a difference in the lives of many Peruvians.

He did it again at 15. He learned from a few mistakes he'd made the year before, and implemented changes that made things operate smoothly.

You know the only thing he left behind in Peru? His faith! His passion for Jesus spread among them. Many were saved...and many mourned his loss.

The incredible thing about leaving this behind is that he also got to bring it back home. Faith builds a testimony. It duplicates and grows when shared with others. It changes lives.

The natural consequence of being a young man who learned to be responsible was to walk in obedience, with his sword unsheathed. He didn't tilt at windmills or duel in prideful arrogance.

He simply brought glory to God.

dad

4 Comments:

At 11:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

May we all 'lose our faith' everywhere we visit! \o/

 
At 1:26 PM, Blogger the leaf family said...

Oh, the collection of socks and
t-shirts left behind in our home. Amazingly enough they belonged to no one.....
Yet with all the t-shirts and socks left in our home somehow Michael never had any that belonged to him... and apparentaly 12 and 13 year old boys really only need 1 pair of socks and underwear per week...

It is amazing to watch them grow and change and become who Christ has created them to be.Scott and I watched as Michael swore into the Army National Gaurd last Thursday and as I heard him say to me that he would ship out for boot camp on May 30th. I watched in amazment as he took another step in becoming the young man that God has created him to be. I pray that he will leave his faith everywhere that he goes just as Beej did.
Sarah is applying to go to Africa this summer and I have watched her take every step so far to raise that money and I begin to feel a bit anxious as she is becoming a young lady that seeks God's heart with her every breath and I know that she will be going and leaving behind a part of herself and much of her faith...
Love, hugs and prayers from-KC Tracy

I would like for you guys to know how much of Sarah's wanting to do mission work comes from Beej's example... He has left alot of his faith in our hearts as well...

 
At 2:21 AM, Anonymous kristin dutt said...

parents--

sorry i'm a few days behind. i loved Mom's post about manicures. i was just thinking about that today..about when we travel across the world, see what little they have, and then come home vowing never to be so vain and materialistic, only to fall into the same trap again. its a terribly vicious circle. one i very much hate about myself.

i miss you guys. i so appreciate your continued sharing. it blesses me, and encourages me, and challenges me. and.. makes me miss your son, my brother.

i love you guys. i'm not sure when i'll get to see you next..i know i had mentioned maybe coming over spring break, but i'm not sure how thats all going to work out.

praying always...
~kristin

 
At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Junior. said...

His obedience made a GREAT difference in the lives of many Peruvians, and not only did he leave his faith here in Peru, but he also left his obedience, passion, faithfulness and an outstanding example worthy of being followed. We miss him dearly but our minds are at peace, for we know we'll be reunited someday. I can't wait for that day!

 

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