What do you remember about your parents? Depending upon your age and your upbringing, you remember a variety of things. You may recall quirky habits, family vacations, or the smell of mom’s baked goods. And while this is all good, I am learning some things differently.
On a semi-regular basis, I write notes to my children. I have a daughter whose personality is more like mine and my son, well, he’s his mom’s boy. With that said, I try to encourage them through leaving notes. Sometimes I hide them in school packs and sometimes I leave them on their desk. I have also taped them to their door and on the mirror in the bathroom.
A few days ago, though, I wrote a different kind of note.
I wrote an apology to my son for being short, ill tempered, and impatient. Let me quote a couple lines:
“I love you and I have no excuse for treating you in any way than as a gift from God. I am so glad to be your dad and by God’s grace, I will more more patient, even more kind, and even more a person you can see growing. You see, the reason we go to church and the reason dad reads so much is not just that the Bible is true, but it’s because daddy’s need for Jesus is very real. I think you are a great boy and together we’ll figure out how to be great men.”
The letter is longer, but that’s for my son. On other occasions, as I said, I have left notes that were not an apology and were simply statements and pronouncements of blessing. I want him to know that he’s a gift and that he’s special and that there’s not a single day that goes by where his mom and I aren’t super excited about him. The same is true of his sister. We are blessed parents and we believe our children never doubt our care for them.
Now, get this–I know my children keep the letters I write them–they have decided to store them somewhere. But, there’s still only one that my son still has hanging on his bedroom door….you guessed it…my apology. I have written dozens of letters that are compliments and blessings–the one that I see every time I walk in to his room is the one where I say, “I am sorry….This impatience, this rotten tone of voice will not happen again.”
So, not only does he remember my apology (it’s for all to see), but by leaving it on his door, I remember it. And frankly, it’s been a beautiful reminder of the gospel.
The Bible puts it this way: “bear fruit in keeping with repentance”
Fruit doesn’t grow overnight…repentance doesn’t just happen like instant coffee or something out of the blue….Fruit that comes from repentance, then, takes time….and yet, that’s what we’re all called too….experiencing grace and then extending grace in expressive ways that truly impact our day to day life. I am called to grow in to being a child of God; my son wants me to grow in to being a godly dad….the two must happen together.
What do children remember? Well….sometimes they remember to teach their parents a thing or two…and that too, is a gift.
My son’s favorite musician is Steven Curtis Chapman and today, after morning worship, we blasted this on the way. It’s been a repentant week….but a really good day.