My children recently spent the night in what I call, “The House of Yes!” This would be at the same address where my parents receive their mail. The reason I call it, "The House of Yes" is because everything that I have said “no” to is, for some reason, turned into an automatic “yes” the moment the kids walk through their grandparent’s door.
“Can I have ice cream for breakfast?”
“Can I swing a golf club in the flower bed?”
“Can I stay up and watch O’Reilly Factor with Papa?”
These and other outrageous behaviors seem to be allowed now that my parents are into the “grand” season of their life. I for one, as a child raised in that home, am speechless!
While Kendal and I were out I called to check on the kids and see if the “House of Yes” had been burned to the ground yet. Dad picked up on the second ring and I could tell by the tone in his voice that the party for the day had just begun. “How are things going?” I asked with a hint of reservation. Dad burst into laughter and told me they were just great. He and J.W. had just finished cooking breakfast! “Where’s Mom?” The kitchen was always my mom’s kingdom, and other than a bowl of Frosted Flakes, I had no idea my father could cook. Dad said, “She went to the store to get some things. The boys were hungry so J.W. and Joel said we can make breakfast for Nana and have it ready when she gets back.” A sudden shudder ran through my body as I envisioned the condition that the kitchen must be in and the reaction my mother would have upon her return. All I could think to ask was, “Anybody hurt?” Dad laughed even harder and let me know that J.W. was the chef and that all was well. Breakfast tacos were made, nothing burned to the ground, and the kids were outside playing and waiting on “Papa Hagee” to join them. Fear was replaced with a little bit of pride as I heard the report, and then I asked to speak to J.W.
“Son, tell me what you made for breakfast?” I love to cook, and Kendal and I consider eating at home with our family around our table one of the greatest joys in life.
“Breakfast tacos Dad!”
“Oh really, so where did you learn to do that?”
My moment of being a proud father was suddenly interrupted with another shudder. This one was not the kind you get when you see your mom walk into the war-zone that used to be her kitchen. This is the kind that you get when the still small voice of the Holy Spirit whispers, “Did you hear that?” I finished the conversation with dad and the kids, hung up the phone and then sat down to say a quick prayer.
I thought long and hard about how we are imitators of behavior and how much power we have to influence the lives of those who imitate us. It’s a generational thing. I learned my way around the kitchen imitating my mom; she imitated her mother, now my son was imitating me. I was gripped by the truth that he’s not just imitating the behavior that creates a breakfast; he’s watching and learning from every other behavior too, the productive behavior and the unproductive.
I challenged myself with that short prayer to be the kind of example that Christ was in Hebrews 12:2 “Looking to Jesus…” We are to look at Him and do what He did. In another book Paul encouraged the church to “become imitators of Christ…” (1 Thess. 1:6-7). I want to live my life in such a way that no matter what my children see me do, if they were to do it too, it would be the right thing for them to do. As it is for all mankind, someday my children will stand before the Creator of Heaven and Earth and when He asks them, “Where did you learn to do that?” I want the result of that conversation to be, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”