Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Family That Serves Together, Spends Time Together

When I look at my role as a parent and consider the many responsibilities I have to lead my kids, none gives me greater joy than simply spending time with them. One of the first bits of wisdom I received as a new parent was to cherish the time I have with my kids. Conventional wisdom says that they WILL grow up and leave the nest...no matter how much we might resist.

A friend of mine tells the story of her husband coming home one day to find her sitting in her closet in a complete emotional meltdown. It was just a few short days after they had brought their newborn son home from the hospital. Apparently she had just come to the realization that her precious bundle of joy was already growing and changing and, in her mind, would be leaving for college tomorrow. Her husband just chuckled, "Now, now...It will be OK." 

Fast forward to that very event. It's the night before her firstborn leaves for college and the family is sitting at the dinner table. By this time, there's a second son added to the family and he's so giddy, he can't stand it. Why? He's about to get a promotion. He's moving into his big brother's room and his enthusiasm only announces one thing: the first born had grown up and is leaving home.

Mom notices dad has become quiet and glances over to see tears streaming down his cheeks. She reaches over and grabs his hand and says, "Let me guess, you're back in the closet." He squeezes her hand and offers a slight nod.

I purposed a long time ago, that I would totally embrace the opportunity to spend time with my children. This is easier said than done in the busy culture in which our family lives. With three active kids, we have to be strategic in our time together. One strategy we subscribe to is serving together. We look for opportunities to engage in activities that allow us to help others and do so as a family.

We just completed one of these opportunities as we had the privilege to serve in the 25th anniversary production of the Twin Living Christmas Trees in our church. This is a broadway-style production that draws over 12,000 people. The girls danced, signed through the lyrics of a song as angels and were "drummers" in a visual presentation of "The Little Drummer Boy" with an international flavor. Avery performed with the KidzPraiz group and was a part of the Kings Entourage, while I played handbells with a group of men in the opening number. Angela, who is the glue that holds our family together, helped by keeping us all on schedule and covering the bases at home with preparations for Christmas.

This is just the most recent example. We are constantly engaging as a family through various opportunities to serve others. We're about to embark on our annual "Cards Around the World" program that we created several years ago. We would love your help. You can read about it HERE and see a photo of one of the kids with his card.

The "Bottom Line" here is simple: spend intentional time with your kids creating memories.  One of my favorite memories of my dad is the day he and I spent four hours on a Saturday tearing down our back porch. You've got to create these kinds of memories. Otherwise, when they get older and come home to visit, you'll have nothing to talk about. And If you'll do this and give them 100% of your attention, I promise you'll be blessed and your relationship with them will be better.

Parenting is so rewarding. But like most other things in life, the reward is only obtained after the proper amount of work has been directed to the task. You have to make the choices and sacrifices necessary to realize the rewards of being a parent. You can't parent on auto-piolot.


  1. Dwayne,
    I praise God for your example of how a family when willing is able to Glorify God together and have Joy in His Glory!!!

  2. Thanks Jody! The sentiment is mutual. "Iron sharpens iron..." You're a good friend!