The kids are out of school!!! The days are getting longer and hotter, and the activities are only beginning to pile up. My five-year-old, Joel, is always concerned about what we are going to do next. No matter how exciting or routine the current event is, if it’s the joy of an amusement park or the torture of 5:00 o’clock traffic, he is the child who will always ask me with great excitement, “Dad what are we going to do next?” No matter what I say, he always has the same response...“And we’re going to do it together?”
It struck me the other day as we were having our routine exchange, what a profound statement he was making. He didn’t require control of the schedule, not that he could have it anyway; everyone knows who dictates that...MOM! He didn’t have options or better alternatives to consider. He simply wanted to affirm that fact that we belong to the family and we are going to face whatever comes next together.
This assurance is one of the most sacred treasures of life. The sense of belonging, the knowing that no matter what, there is a place where you will always have the support you need from a committed group of people, who will always be there for you. Even at the age of five, without the ability to fully grasp all that the question holds, Joel wants to know that we are going to do this together.
It’s not just a need in the life of a child. It is also a need in me, too. I recognize that there are seasons in life. There is a time to grow, a time to mature, a time to produce and build, and a time to stop building and enjoy what you have produced. As I watch so many face these changes, in their own way they ask the same question as my son...“Are we going to do this together?”
Some get older and need more help than they have ever needed before. And as they transition from independent to total dependence, they look to their loved ones and want to know, “Are we going to do this together?”
Young couples face the challenges of starting a new life together, with so many difficult and sometimes frightening moments that can potentially end in disaster. Yet their relationship and love grows stronger and stronger, because they decided to do it together.
Even that independent 20-something that wants to be totally out on their own, charting their own path, enjoying their own life...somewhere in the quiet corner of their mind, they want to know where they belong and who they can count on when it comes time to share the success or sorrow of life. Because even the greatest challenges are cut in half when shared with another.
In order for the answer to the question to be yes...“Yes, we are going to do this together"...A real commitment must be made, and there is nothing convenient about commitment. Commitments are much easier to make than they are to keep. Because they never really matter until it costs you something.
This summer I am committed to spending as much time with my kids as I can possibly afford. In order to keep that commitment, I am going to have to sacrifice everything in my schedule that would take me away from my family that is not absolutely necessary. Why would I do that? Because I am committed. It doesn’t matter what you are trying to do. If you are going to be successful at it, you are going to have to be committed to it. And if you are going to be committed to it, that means you’ve got to sacrifice for it.
The sacrifice may feel like it’s large in the moment, but weighed out over time, it's probably a small price to pay. Because, while my son is 5 and I am 36, I want him to know he belongs with me, and we are going to do life together. So that when he’s my age and I am in another season of my life, he will make it known that I belong to him, and we are still committed to facing life together.