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The Blessing, by Phil Ware Phil Ware

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    What a powerful experience! One by one, parents stood up and told their children what they admired in them, how they loved them, and that they are proud of them. It was based on God’s affirmation of Jesus at his baptism, “You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased.”

    While the words were different and the strengths of each child were unique, the love and desire to bless was very similar from family to family. We wanted them to know they are loved, they are special to us, and that God loves them and wants them to offer their gifts to the world.

    As we headed home, we came to the place where the road ends. A big yellow and black reflecting sign lets you know that you have to turn right or left. It’s decision time. Underneath the reflecting arrows, there was a crude, hand-painted sign that read, “Childcare — Registered” then the phone number.

    We wouldn’t choose a doctor for ourselves, or a veterinarian for our pets, from a hand-painted sign along the road! But we’d choose someone to take care of our children that way? We’re leaving the care and training of our children, at the most impressionable and vulnerable point in their lives, to strangers chosen from a hand-painted road sign. It bewilders me that we’re not outraged!

It bewilders me that we’re not outraged!
    Good childcare is hard to find. There are long waiting lists to get into good childcare and preschool programs. Parents agonize over this issue. But doesn’t it distress you what a sign like that on our roadside says to our children about their inherent value to us? “No, we won’t find a doctor for Scruffy that way, but then you’re just a kid. You don’t know any better. Besides, I can’t find anything else... We’ll give it a try and see if works out. If not, we’ll try another one.” Yes, this is the end of the road and decision time!

    When children come into our world, they determine their value to us based on touch, time, and presence. What happens when we’re not the ones with the touch, the time, and the presence in their lives? For most of their time in our homes, our children will hear what we say, but only value it if they see it is valuable to us. They can hear that we love them, and they should often, but they will not fully believe it unless we make them, and time with them, a priority.

    So I’m asking us to put ourselves in the place of our children and to follow the golden rule in what we decide for them: “Do for your child as you wish your parents would have done for you.” Would you want someone you don’t know, chosen from a hand painted road sign, to be the person taking care of you for most of the day?

    Children are a sacrifice of time, effort, and money. But they are also an incredible gift from God. They are one of God’s best ways of showing us how much he loves us. When all is said and done, I don’t want the blessing my children receive from me to just be a one-time thing, done in eighth grade, as they are transitioning to high school. As wonderful as that is, it isn’t enough! I want them to know that they are precious, special, and a blessing from God. I want them to know that I’d give up anything to do what was best for them. Most of all, I want them to know me, and to know that I love them. They can’t find that on the side of the road!


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