Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What Will The Kids Say?

Anyone who has been around kids knows they speak openly and honestly about what they hear and see at home. No matter how softly you whisper they still hear. If you think they're sleeping and can't hear you, think again. They can and do. Children have the uncanny knack of hearing what parents wish they hadn't, and then remembering it -- much to the parents' chagrin, especially when what was not meant for their ears re-surfaces later at an inopportune time. Many a parent has been mortified to hear their words repeated by their children.

Children not only mimic what they hear, they often adopt the attitude and habits of their parents. This point was finely illustrated just the other day, as my two brothers and I remembered our dad's birthday.

Dad passed away many years ago, but his sons remembered his birthday in a fashion he would have appreciated.

Dad was a man who enjoyed a glass of beer and a shot of whiskey before each evening meal. His beer preference varied depending on the market price, but his whiskey of choice was Jim Beam. He would pour the whiskey into his shot glass and offer his toast -- always the same, always one word: "Sta-goy." His choice of whiskey and his spoken toast never changed.

On his last birthday celebration, his sons raised a shot of Jim Beam and in unison they shouted, "Sta-goy!"

We then spent hours trying to figure out what "sta-goy" meant. To the best of our knowledge we concluded this was a made-for-dad word, with no other meaning than it sounded like a good toast.

Afterwards I began to think what will my children remember about me? Will they remember how I went to church, loved their mother, prayed over them? Will they remember how hard I worked, how I tucked them into bed, and went to their activities? Or will they remember the brand of tobacco I smoked, my favorite cuss words, and my favorite TV shows?

None of us can fully predict or guarantee the kind of legacy we will leave our kids and families. We can, however, ink more entries on that side of the ledger that show us to be loving husbands and fathers, trusted confidants, and practical men of God.

It is within our power to do just that.

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