There is no other blessing in life quite like the hand of child who wants to hold yours.
Every where we go, my little dude wants to hold my hand. Sometimes he runs ahead or lags behind, but not very often. Usually he is right there.I hear sweet word that make me smile or cause me to laugh. "Daddy...you're the best daddy in the whole wide world...and Mommy is the best mommy in the whole wide world." Mommy started this thing with the kids a while back. "I love you more, the end!" It's a challenge now that our kids take seriously. If someone says, "I love you." Then, you are free to come back with, "I love you more, the end!" and there is no retort for that. Doesn't stop us from arguing about who really loves each other more and how much we love each other. Although, my little dude loves to say, "I said it's first and that's the rules!" Because, momma made up the rules and momma is always right about everything. That's up for debate too.
Children. They are a special blessing that God gives us. Sometimes we roll our eyes when we say that. It depends on what kind of day we are having with said kids. If they are making us pull our hair or go outside and scream real loud to let out the frustration of several of them not listening to our instructions. Again, I resound the thoughts and words of the great William H Cosby. There are many times where we try to get our children to follow our instructions or our train of thought. Many times they stand there and look at us with that blank, lifeless face like they cannot hear our words. There is something impeding the sound waves from entering the ear and making it's way to the eardrum. For some reason we cannot sync up with their minds and get them to see why it is so important to follow our commands. I know it is possible. But, I also remember what it was like. I'm not divulging any facts.
Here are two people in the biblical account who can be a most excellent example of what it means to be kids. Jacob & Esau. We see in our scripture today a bit of the end of the story. They are grown men with families and they are coming back together. Jacob shows Esau all that God has blessed him with in this life.
New International Version (NIV)
Jacob answered, “They are the children God has graciously given your servant.”
Ah, but, their story is one for the ages. The story between two brothers at each other throats. Always trying to best the other one. Always trying to get their mother's and father's attention. It comes right down to the birthright. This great blessing was to go to the oldest in the family, to carry on the family line and name. More so, this blessing had to do with God. The promises that had been given to their grandfather, Abraham, will be passed down to the next in the family tree. "Your descendants shall be as many as the stars in the sky" This great faith of believing in God and following the ways of the Almighty are certainly the best thing any parent can offer their children. The problem is, getting them to see the importance of exactly that. As children, we all to often only see the blessing and not the Blesser. We don't realize how hard it is to get the money together through all the pain and effort of working that it took to pay for the gift that will be given on the special day. We only see the gift and know how much we want it.
Jacob and Esau are your everyday children. Esau liked to please his father. He hunted. He cooked for his dad as he got older. He brought him the venison stew. The scripture tell us that the importance of understanding the blessing of the birthright seemed to float over his head. It wasn't of great concern to him. And, is keeping such an outlook, he missed the blessing. Jacob, on the other hand, wants to be first in line. Like kids fighting over who will sit in the front seat, Jacob is holding on to Esau's foot as they exit the womb. Jacob wants to be first. The squabble seems to follow them all through their childhood days. Always trying to be first in line. Always wanting their own work appreciated more. Every parent seems to have a child whose personality they gravitate towards. For Isaac, it is Esau. Jacob could be labeled a "Momma's Boy". In fact, it is with his mother's help that Jacob actually ends up stealing the birthright away from his brother. She covers him in a hairy, wooly cloth so that his blind father will think that it is Esau, who is known for being a hairy man. See the trouble we set in front of our children when we do not treat them equally. When we favor one over the other. We mistake God's intentional purpose for some as an excluding of everyone. No one wants to be left out.
God had a great life in store for this child, but now the full blessing of the birthright is upon him. So, now he has to deal with it. That might not have been a bad thing. But, it wasn't intended for him. It's hard to help children see the intentions of adults. It's hard for us not to want to spoil them. We don't want them to have to deal with the harshness and realities that we, ourselves, had to face as children. We want them to have a better life than we had. Who knows why Jacob's mother does what she does. Maybe she think Esau will be fine. He's shown that he can hunt and take care of himself. Maybe Jacob doesn't have those same skills. She wonders how he will make it in this world. So, she rigs the process and gets her favorite son the blessing. It's all shrouded in mystery and we don't know all the intentions. But, do we see a bit of ourselves in the story? Do we see how we have treated our own children? Do we see how important it is the pass along our own faith and knowledge to the next generation? What is Issac & Rebekah teaching their children about God? What are we teaching our own kids about God?
Alright, I'm going to stop myself here. Because, I'm not coming into your house to tell you how to raise your kids. I am not Dr James Dobson or any kind of expert of child rearing. But, this one point I would draw from all of this. What kind of relationship with God are we showing to our kids? What ever and how ever we choose to raise our children it should be ever so important for us to address the matter of how they come to understand who God is in our lives. Is God anywhere in our discussions or our conversations? Do we treat others, especially our children, as gifts that God has given us? Yes, other people can be gifts to us, even when they don't necessarily listen to what we say or do what we want. Our children might be one of those people. We might be one of those children, too.
I don't have all the answers. When I was 27, I thought I did. All I was concerned with was the idea that I was free from my father's control. I could do what I wanted. Now, I'm 43. And, I wish I could sit at his feet a little longer. I wish I could draw from the well of knowledge and vision some more. I'm still a child. I still need the reassurance a parent gives to the child. All I can really do is make sure I give my all to those entrusted to me. We need to see the relationship here in our houses as a parallel to the relationship God has with us. A parent to a child. This parent gave all he had, his one and only son, so that everyone could have life. What are you willing to give for the sake of your little ones?