Rite of Passage Parenting: Lost and found
Like many of you, I was sitting on the edge of my seat as the President announced that our military had killed Osama bin Laden. Later on, the newscaster explained that the SEALs found him living in a three-story house near a military academy.
This shocked me. For all these years, I envisioned Osama hunkered down in some dirty, smelly cave with a sparse supply of food, only to discover he was living in a million-dollar compound with two wives. The newscaster went on to question the Pakistanis’ military intelligence. How could they not have known that the town mansion belonged to a man wanted by the entire world?
Suddenly, a thought came to me. Bin Laden had men searching for him. I believe one consequence of the Fall is the way the male species has trouble finding things. I know I do. My wife often says something like, “Get the butter out of the refrigerator.”
You know me, always willing to help. I open the brightly lit magic box and begin my search. I find the milk, eggs, ketchup, chocolate syrup, lettuce and even the meat drawer, but no butter.
After several seconds, my wife asks, “What’s wrong?”
I hate to be the one to inform her, but I’m the only other person who lives in our house. Reluctantly, I state, “We don’t have any butter.”
“What do you mean, ‘We don’t have any butter?’”
“Let me rephrase that. ‘I can’t seem to find the butter.’”
“What do you mean you can’t find the butter?”
“I’ve looked high and low, but I don’t see any butter. I see milk, ketchup, eggs, a can of whipped cream and anything else you might want, but not butter.”
I hear her sigh as she walks across the kitchen, looks over my shoulder and says, “What’s that in the brown tub right in front of you?”
Straight ahead at eye level is a brown tub with the word “Butter” emblazoned across both sides. Now I’m faced with a moral dilemma. Do I admit that it sat in front of me all the time? Or do I ask, “What brown tub?”
I decide to man up and simply say, “Ohhh.”
I already know what comes next. “If it had been a snake it would have bitten you.”
I don’t know who came up with that saying, but it had to be someone who lived in a desert. I’ve never seen a snake in our refrigerator. But it’s not only the butter I can’t locate. It seems as though anytime my wife asks me to find something, I become blind to that object or item. Go figure.
This explains why I wasn’t too surprised that a group of men failed to see Osama bin Laden. After all, he was hiding in plain sight. Mystery solved.
I must confess, though: I’m no stranger to blindness. My stupidity blinded me for a long time. I was so busy trying to build a career that I couldn’t see my family.
If I could have a do-over, I’d spend more time with my wife and sons. For many years, I lived in the same house and never really saw them.
The first two characteristics of Jesus shown in Scripture are that He listened and asked questions. For too long, I stayed busy doing my own thing and never really engaged in the lives of my family members. Children know their dad cares about them when he listens to them and asks questions.
One evening, I was leaving the house and my youngest son said to me, “Daddy, where are you going?”
I reminded him that our church had visitation every Monday night. But first I had to explain what church visitation was. “I’m on my way to see people who visited our church and asked for someone to come visit them,” I told Caleb.
I went on to explain that on many occasions I had the privilege of telling the people I visited about Jesus. My son listened intently as I told him all about what I was going to do.
After I finished, he sat for a few seconds, looked up and asked a question, “Daddy, why don’t you stay home and tell us about Jesus?”
I couldn’t have been more shocked if lightning had struck me. From that night on, Monday night visitation began and ended at the Moore home.
If you can’t find the butter, you can be sure one of the women in your life will. But if you don’t find your children, someone else is waiting to get them. And that someone looks a lot like the other thing I’ve never found in our refrigerator . . . a serpent.
Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827)