Rite of passage parenting: In the picture—or not?
One day, an elementary school principal summoned the father of one of his female students to her office. Sitting across the desk from the principal, the father asked, “What’s the matter?”
The principal pulled out a drawing the man’s daughter had made of her family. She slid it across the desk and asked, “What’s missing?”
It didn’t take long for the father to see that the child had drawn a picture of her mother and two brothers but failed to include him. Disturbed, the teacher had sent the drawing on to the principal and then to the school counselor. After numerous discussions, they brought the father in to see if they could figure out why, when asked to draw a picture of her family, the child drew everyone but her dad.
The father assured the principal that he was a good father and insisted they bring in his daughter to see if they could get to the bottom of the problem. When the little girl arrived, the principal gently asked her to identify each person in her picture. “This is my mommy, this is my big brother and the other one is my little brother.”
For a moment, they all sat in silence. “In your picture, where is your dad?” asked the principal.
“He isn’t there,” the little girl replied.
The little girl looked up and said, “He’s the one taking the picture!”
When I was growing up, there was no such thing as digital anything. Our phone was rotary and a party line at that. Have you ever tried to explain the term party line to this generation? They get off track at the word party. (If you want to know more about a party line, I have two words for you: Google it.)
As a child, I had a transistor radio, but that was about the only thing in my life that could come close to being considered digital. Our family had an old Kodak brownie camera, so loading a roll of film was an art in itself. After taking your pictures, you put the roll of film into an envelope and mailed it off. By the time you forgot what pictures you’d taken, they showed up in your mailbox.
Back then, we didn’t have timers on our cameras that we could set and then run like a greyhound to make it into the shot. Unless an extra person happened to be around to snap the picture, one family member had to be left out.
On those occasions when I was the one taking the picture, I found great joy in looking through that little glass window and seeing the most beautiful woman I ever laid eyes on next to two boys who were nothing more than my heart walking outside my body. I didn’t want a picture of me. I wanted a picture of them. For a long time, I carried a photo in my wallet of my wife and our two sons. It finally wore out and had to be put into a drawer for safekeeping.
I know that many of you think God is no longer in your family picture. But I want to assure you He is watching over you, looking after you and caring for you—even during those times when you don’t see or feel Him.
You and your family matter deeply to God. After all, He designed the family. His original intention was to put all His masculine attributes into the male. The warrior, provider, protector and even the fix-it attributes all came to the one we call father. God put His feminine attributes into the female of the species: nurturing, loving, caring and multi-tasking. We call this person mother.
When God’s male and female attributes come together in the vehicle we call marriage, they become one. When a child enters the world, God intends for each one to be surrounded and guided by all His attributes—not just masculine, not just feminine, but all.
That explains how God is always in the picture. We are made in His image. Each of us walks around with His DNA. “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27 NASB).
I have heard that men are from Mars and women are from some other planet, but the truth is that men are from God and women are from God. God is a jealous God and that is why He sent His one and only begotten Son. He wanted Him in the picture.
God is already in your family picture. Have you asked His Son to be in it, too?