I remember random things from when I was young. I remember my dad building a go-cart from an old wagon. I remember camping trips and trees in my back yard we would climb. I remember the wooden floors in our first house and playing outside in the eye of hurricane Carla.
There are a lot of things I try to do that are intentional with my kids that they will hopefully be memories they will cherish and hold as important times in our lives together. For my oldest who is now 26, I took him out of school every year for his birthday to go fishing. We had several birthdays when we had storms roll in on top of us and we had to fight the wind and waves to get back to the boat launch. I remember once we were fishing as a storm approached. He looked at me laughing and said “dad your hair is standing straight up.” I realized the danger of potential lightening and we beat feat to the nearest covered dock and watched the storm roll past. It never mattered if we caught fish, we always got in trouble for dragging in late with school the next day, but we always went.
My youngest son and I hunt together a lot. We spend a lot of time taking other boys out hunting and teaching them the way of the woods. When he turned 10 several of male our closest friends came over and read him letters they wrote to him about how special he was. We blessed him and talked of the responsibilities he would face as he turned double digits. That day he received the pellet rifle I was given at 10-years-old 40 years earlier.
My daughter and I spend date nights together and time in the outdoors. She can put on a beautiful dress and go to dinner with me as easily as she can put on cammo coveralls and hunt for deer. Her first deer and our night at the recent chocolate festival are so important to me, and I hope for her as well. She is a bit harder for me to understand, but for her, well she has me wrapped around her finger and the woman in her knows it.
It is important to be intentional with our kids as they grow up. They need to have milestones and markers in their lives that are meaningful and significant. Rites of passage are important to and it seems we have gotten away from those markers in our culture today.
I want to teach my kids to also be brave and strong and compassionate. I want them to explore the world and learn to love the Lord openly with zeal and fervor.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
The world can be a scary place if we do not ready our children and ourselves to face the hardships and challenges ahead. Love needs to be an emotion not a physical act. Character must be a part of who we are not a cartoon veneer or passing thought. We need to plan an adventure and a quest.
The bible is a place you can go to find answers to the hardest questions and accept lifelong challenges. The Words there were written intentionally. The Old Testament and New Testament are both markers of a rite of passage given to us by a loving Father. Be intentional in who you are and what you do. Speak into your kid’s lives and those around you. Be bold and forthright and challenge the untruths in your life. Remember If God is with us then who could be against us.