Thursday, October 25, 2018

Warrior Weekend talk October 2018


Imagine that the US was invaded by ISIS. ISIS wins and makes the US a subjected territory. They send troops and occupy our cities and towns. In order to collect money for their ongoing terrorist activities, they send wage collectors to each town. Soon, this massive undertaking is franchised out. Local citizens are offered the opportunity to collect taxes from the citizenry thus buying a tax collection franchise. They are now allowed to collect whatever they want over and above what they owe to the ISIS and keep for themselves the surplus.

These pathetic turncoats in your own town are known to be among the wealthiest few because, if ISIS says you own $6000, they tell you you own 7 or 8000. They drive the Cadillac’s, they live in the nicest homes, they have all they want to eat and drink. And they are hated, but protected by the ISIS governors.
 
You know the money they collect goes directly to ISIS efforts to kill Christians and spread Islam. They are traitors to their homeland, directly helping ISIS  AND they steal from their own countrymen.

This, was Matthew. But in the time of Christ, Matthew was a jew and he collected taxes for the Romans.

Imagine his surprise when this happened:


Matthew became a disciple of Jesus and followed him for 3 years. He became close friends with the other apostles and had untold personal encounters with Jesus. After Jesus’s death he preached the Gospel and some say he traveled to other countries. He wrote the first book in the New Testament, a telling of his personal experiences with Christ in most believe 60AD.

Imagine how he felt as he wrote those words. “He saw me sitting at the tax collector’s booth and invited me to follow him."

He saw me.

That’s our story. He saw us drunk with wine and said “follow me.” He saw us surfing porn and said “follow me.” He saw us committing adultery and said “follow me.” He saw me, and he want’s ME to follow him. He saw us in despair and fear and doubt and said “follow me.”

That’s the invitation to each of us here right now. He still asks us to follow him every day, every hour. That invitation and command is found in Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John. It’s central to His message and mission, to make followers of himself.

So what does that mean? Practically, on an hour by hour basis?

  
      I) Matthew 10:34-39 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter in law against her mother in law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

“Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild?” There were times when that was true:

Woman caught in adultery, with children running to him, with Thomas who asked the risen Christ if he could put his hand into his wounds!

But what of weaving a whip of cords and causing a riot as he cleared the temple, His father’s house? What of calling the religious leaders snakes, hypocrites, blind guides, fools murderers? What of His ongoing battle with demonic spirits?

Jesus lived his life with brutal honesty and courageous boldness in the face of certain danger. Everything he did was perfect love in action, but it probably didn’t always feel loving.

So, to follow Jesus is to understand that I am an ambassador, a representative of the risen Christ on earth. My purpose is to do everything in love, even when it will create discomfort, when it will be inconvenient, when it will possibly result in a personal loss of money, respect from the world, position…and yes, as it did for nearly all the apostles, death.

John 15:20 “Remember what I told you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”
John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

In both cases he was talking to his disciples, his inner circle, the ones who would continue to carry on in teaching about him after he was gone from the earth. If I’m NOT being persecuted, If things in my life are going along just peachy, I’m a little worried…the life of a Christ follower is not supposed to be easy and safe.

In C.S. Lewis’ the Lion, Witch, Wardrobe which is an allegory or story about Jesus there is this wonderful conversation: Between a talking beaver and the human child Susan:
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"..."Safe?" said Mr Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.” C. S. Lewis in The LWW

Doesn’t that call up something in you? Would it not fill your warrior heart to described that way? That’s following Jesus into peacemaking when called for, but also into making difficult choices.

What are you running from that you know Christ is calling you to? What are you reluctant to say or do in his Kingdom? A preacher in Florida named Joby says it this way:

“Christian, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail because the God of the Universe lives in you?”

2    II) To truly follow Christ, HE has to become everything to us. Our guide-stone, our Lord and Master.

We all follow something men. Some would say we all worship something: Friends, women, our children, sex, alcohol, food, fun, job/career, money… 

The problem is as Jesus says in Matthew 6:24

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
None of us can follow/love/worship more than one thing at a time.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

With a cross on my back, following Jesus, I don’t have room in my life for sex, drugs, or even some rock and roll. I don’t have room for arguments with my wife, fights with my kids, or relationships that don’t build up the Kingdom of God. I have room for what Christ made room for: His Father’s Kingdom, His Father’s business.

“I’ve been crucified with Christ and I NO LONGER LIVE but Christ lives in me. The life that I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

Let’s get this out of the way. You are a DEAD man. By expectation and command of the Father we are to be dead to ourselves to make room for the life of Jesus in us.

In the first season of the Walking Dead, a show about a zombie apocalypse and a handful of human survivors there is a segment where, in order to sneak past a large group of zombies, they hack up a dead zombie and cover themselves in the guts.

I do that. I do that every time I lust after a woman in person or on the internet. I do that every time I take that one or two or three more drinks. Whenever I curse someone in anger. Whenever I cheat or lie or steal…I’m coating myself in dead mans skin trying to sneak back into the world in which I don’t belong.

And the Father says: “Son, my beloved Son whom I gave everything to save from that stench and that guilt, come here and take a bath then look in the mirror and remember WHO I say you are.”

Follow me.

It’s about Authority. The Universe runs on Authority. The angels have ranks (Archangel). The demons have rank (Principalities, powers, forces of evil). Adam and Eve gave it up. Christ won it back at the Cross by dying for my sin and in his burial room defeating death. Recognizing the authority of Christ over my life is crucial, especially as a man. If I am a truly a follower of Christ He shares His authority with me to accomplish awesome and wonderful things in His name. So frankly, He does get to chose how I spend my time and money. He does get to say what things I focus on, think on, and work toward. I don’t have the authority on earth or in Heaven to slum around here like I do sometimes.

“Did I SAY you could do that?”     No Sir, No Lord.    “Then don’t.”

Honestly, that’s a healthy weapon against the enemy’s temptations. 

Turn on your computer and begin to think about checking out what SHE looks like nude? “I don’t have the authority to do that.” “I must be about my father’s business.”

Guy cuts you off and you want to tailgate him to show him how it feels? “I don’t have the authority to do that.” “I must be about my father’s business.”

Wife says something you don’t like and you start to feel offended and get ready to tell her off and put her down hard. “I don’t have the authority to do that.”

Insert your own personal temptations….. I’m sorry, but we don’t have the authority to do that. (Actually, I'm not sorry. I'm grateful that He loves me enough to keep me from the consequences of that lifestyle.)

We do have the authority to tell Satan and his angels where they can go. We do have the authority to spread the kingdom of the Perfect, everlasting, all powerful God wherever we can take it. We do have the authority to walk up to His throne, bow, and make any requests our hearts can imagine.

3    III) How do we consistently live like that.

One, we are maturing in this role as Christ follower. Some of us have been living this way a long time and much has been revealed to us. Some are just starting out on the road.

In the world, we are taught to mature toward independence and autonomy. In Christ we are taught to mature toward total dependency. That’s a recognition that without Jesus we can do nothing.

John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

No matter where we are in our journey toward dependency, we all have one thing in common.

John 14: 16-17 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

When we become Christian’s we are baptized, immersed in, the Holy Spirit. Ephesians says he take up residence in our body, the new temple of God where he remains forever as a deposit guaranteeing our entry into heaven. We are marked by Him and we are fueled, empowered, reminded, counseled, and represented by him.

He is the secret of the means to follow Jesus. He is the “infrared goggles” which allow us to see the footsteps of Christ along the path He has chosen for us. He is the eternal nuclear power plant allowing us to never give up in our efforts to serve, and fight. The power and love of the Living God lives in US and empowers us every moment of every day.

Pray that God will reveal His purposes, His calling and prompting in your life. Boldly walk in peace, even when it's dangerous and to restore peace you have to be honest. Immerse yourself in His word and accept His ultimate authority over your life, and His unfailing love for you His son.

“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.”

Men, Jesus is asking us to follow him. What is the response written in your heart?

Even a tax collector knows a good thing when he hears it.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Long Time - No Write

You are a senior in High School, princess.

Since you agreed to change schools I have watched as God has slowly and methodically restored your confidence in yourself, and in others who now have the good fortune to call themselves your friends.

I know that it is not easy to accept friendship. It is a messy business trusting others with the small portion of our hearts that we reveal to them. It can sometimes feel like taping a neon sign which reads KICK ME, I CAN'T BLOCK YOU to our backsides; and then, leaving it there after we get kicked, and kicked, and kicked.

People are imperfect. In fact, we suck. Mother Teresa once penned a genius poem which I share here:

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give the world the best you have anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It never was between you and them, anyway.

I have always loved the simplistic truth to that. It is true no matter which friend group we find ourselves trusting: At work, at play, in our families, with our spouse.

That's why I am so thankful that you have begun to trust again. I know it feels awkward. I know it feels risky. I certainly know that it feels false. I'm an old man and I still don't fully trust those I am around. My solution has always been to be as transparent as I can about SOME things in my life; and to hide the rest. We all hide, it's just that with those we allow in, they know we are hiding. They are too.

We know much about the psychology of hiding or "impression management." It sounds something like, depending on our level of self confidence, this:

I will let you see who I want you to believe I am.
I will let you see who I think you want to believe I am.
I will let you see who I think you will accept and not reject.
I will let you see who I wish I really was, but know I am not.

What is most troubling about each of those however is that it keeps me locked in a cage, OR it keeps others locked in a cage. If we remain guarded and fearful of showing too much of our truth, we have to pile on layers and layers of false self in front of the other person to the point that, they don't really know us at all. They know our mask (our persona).



If you only fall in love with my mask, you are unable to love the real me. This inevitably leads me to then feel lonely and unaccepted.

There will be those trusted few people you will find who will not reject you when they find out you let them down, or you are not perfect. Rather, they will thank you for being real, and for allowing them to finally be real with you too. They will not scold, they will not prod, and they will not judge. They will trust that you are on the path of life just as they are on the path of life.

That's one of the great mysteries of my faith in God. He knows the real me. He knows the me I was. He knows the me I am today. He knows the me I want to be. More, He loves and accepts me in spite of, and because of it all. No mask can fool Him. No act can snow Him. No lie can distort the truth that He sees.

You know what makes it even cooler? He knows the you that you are becoming. He came here to allow that to happen. He died so that we would be free to be who we were meant to be all along, His children. His people. His beloved.

He doesn't want me to have to be the fake me, striving and failing and striving harder. The message which separates Christianity from all other faiths is this:

Once I am in Christ, I am free to be exactly who I am; on my bad days and on my good days because, when He looks at me, He sees the perfection of  His son.

"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus," Ephesians 2:6

Notice my little genius it doesn't say "And God will raise us up...." It says He already has.

"What? But God, I'm unreasonable, self-centered, accusatory, cheating, jealous, forgetful, and insatiable."

You know what He says?

"No son, No daughter. I can see all things clearly, as they truly are, and I can see you right now seated at My table. And you look perfect!"

Sunday, June 21, 2015

"Tell Me A Story"


Wait, I need to back up and prepare you for this story. You often ask me to "Tell me a story" like I used to on the way to school. I have written about that previously. Well, I have one to tell you today. It is a very long story so it will probably take many days. It is also a VERY special story because, unlike other stories I tell, none of it is made up. It is all true. This story begins before any other story ever told. It begins:

A long, long time ago; before "time" was ever measured, before there was a "you", or "me", or anyone; before there was an Earth, or a Sun, or a galaxy, or any stars at all; Before there was anything else....there was God.

Have you ever thought of that? I had not. Only within the last few years, in my understanding as an answer to my prayer to Him that He teach me how to truly be a son of His, God has begun to reveal greater truths to me than ever before. Now, that is not to say that I understand them all or that I boast in this knowledge. Rather, He is telling me that things are going to be ok; that He, as my true Father is greater than I can ever possibly understand while on earth...and that I/we have SO much to look forward to when we get to Him. It is a great joy and excitement to learn about Him, yet of course creates many more questions.

For example: What was He doing before he created the universe?

I love this question because it is such a mystery. I have looked into it.

1) I believe that we can not know HOW LONG God existed before creation because we are dealing with eternity. Wrap your awesome mind around this...
Think of the point 0 as the creation of the Universe (as described in Genesis). Think of the point 1 as the end of the World as recorded in the Book of Revelation. We like to think of the arrow after that as "We get to live with God "forever," for all of eternity.
 
But look at the other end of eternity...before point 0. Yup, eternity goes both ways...forever before, and forever after.
 
Another level of this mystery is: God created the concept we know as TIME. 
 
"God called the light "day" and the darkness He called "night". There was evening, and there was morning - the first day." Genesis 1:5
 
As the creator of time, he is not subject to it and thus...God does not have to respect the laws of time. In simplistic terms, He is the perfect time traveler. He can go forward and backward through time at will.
 
But then think of this...as the creator of all time AND matter, he doesn't have to respect the laws of matter and thus, He IS everywhere at once. (Omnipresent) He is at point 0, and the next line, and the next, and at point 1, AND before and forever after.
 
I know, I know, that is difficult to wrap the mind around...but don't close it off. We (humans) like to put God in a box so that we feel more comfortable understanding Him; that way we can feel safe and self-sufficient. But the truth is...we can NEVER understand God because we are created beings, created within laws of time and matter which HE created.
 
"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Cor. 13:12
 
ANYWAY, What was God doing before He created the universe?
Sitting on His throne? Yeah, sure. The all powerful God is a boring old man who likes to sit around all day.

Are you kidding? He is God. I imagine He was doing "God things." Solving great mysteries; creating other things; planning for the future (well, what WE think of as the future).

2) God was not alone.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light fall mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
 
 
This is believed to be a different "beginning" than the Genesis "In the beginning." Genesis recounts the beginning of the Universe (as we know it), galaxies, stars, planets, earth in particular. But who are we to imagine that the God who created all of it just happened to have that be His very first act. Imagine being God (like that's easy), would there not be some things you would want to accomplish BEFORE you created free willed beings?
 
John points out, that God the father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were all together, from the "beginning." What he wants us to know is that the Trinity existed, was unified, and was the source of the Word. I sometimes go so far as to imagine that John is describing the three in that first sentence.
 
"In the beginning was the Word (Son), and the Word was with God (Holy Spirit), and the Word was God (Father)."
 
John Eldridge uses the opening scene of the movie The Last of the Mohicans to illustrate the idea of the Trinity: Three individuals with a singular purpose, a critically important purpose. They are intense, and they are completely unified in their intent. That, is the Trinity
 
What were they doing? I really want to know someday. What we do know is that they were together, that they were intertwined in a way beyond our understanding except that it is alluded to in a marriage ("And the two shall become ONE.") Something about our spirits overlaps, two become one so, in the God Trinity, there is perfect overlap, while there is still distinction.
 
Christianity is described as Monotheism: One Deity (versus Greek mythology which practices Polytheism: Many Dieties (Zeus, Athena, Apollo, etc...). I have wrestled with that in the past. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit would seem to be Poly rather than Mono. However...I don't get to decide whether or not an all powerful entity is separate and distinct from another. I just get to draw breath for awhile and trust that, when God defines himself, He says "Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is ONE.
 
Honestly, it is exciting to me to think that the Trinity existed in perfect union, perfect cooperation, and perfect fellowship. It helps me understand my own need for others. I long to be in union with another. I feel most complete when your Mom and I are working as one. I count on her to "bear my name" as she so eloquently states. In that bearing, she is stating that her will is a reflection of mine. Who she is impacts others perception of me for WE are the Hickam's. That is unity.
 
Christ was the perfect picture of that while He was on earth (though I don't want to get TOO far ahead of myself): Christ said repeatedly: "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." (John 14:9) "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself (referencing himself). He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever he Father does, the Son also does." (John 5:19) And: "I do not speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it." (John 12:49).
 
Isn't that amazing?! Jesus Christ, God the Son, is so in tune with, so perfectly unified with God the Father that He continually reminds those who hear him that the Father's will supplants his own. He gives full credit where credit is due. (Even to the point of accepting death on the cross despite being fearful, and grieved saying, "Not my will but yours Father.")
 
3) Are you ready for this one? Really ready? The bible does give us ONE very important, amazing, humbling detail of what the Trinity was doing prior to the creation:
 
"Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will..." Ephesians 1:4-5
 
Yes. He was thinking of you. He CHOSE you before the foundation of the world. He predestined you to adoption. (Predestined means to choose before hand, to predetermine) Just as your Mommy and I wrote your name in the sand on a beach in Galveston Texas 6 years before you were born, God knew you before the creation. He knew all of us. He knew everything about us, and He saw our places in the plan He had for His creation.
 
God, in the perfect unity of the Trinity has existed for eternity, and will exist for eternity. He knew what had been and He knew what was coming, and He knows what is going on now, and He knows what will happen. He is already there.
 
Something else happened before creation though. Something else which, once we begin to understand it, will help us understand WHY life is the way it is. I will continue this EPIC story, this amazing adventure next time. But I will pose a question first:
 

 
What is with the angels...and why are they armed?
 
syla.
Love, Daddy
 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

My Dear Princesss,
Yesterday I woke up and you said your first words. As I was preparing lunch, you went to first grade. By dinner time, you were talking about boys (other than Daddy); and now, as I start another day, you are preparing to enter High School as a Freshman.

There is so much I wanted to say to you...so much I wanted to prepare you for...

Perhaps I have in spoken word, and hopefully in some of my deeds...but here, I have failed to keep up. I can't remember the number of priceless moments that have come and gone between us that are locked somewhere in my mind...rarely to see the light of day.

The wonderful truth of life however is...it is never to late to pick up where one leaves off...until of course we are dead. And I am not dead yet.

You went to camp without us for the first time this summer...just last week in fact. I can't explain it to you, but I missed you so profoundly. The house felt empty, my days felt empty. When you are asleep in the mornings this summer I so look forward to you waking up. I love being around you, even though you sometimes are busy on the computer. It was like that...I wanted to go wake you up and just spend a little time with you.

It got a little easier as the days progressed. I had to have faith that you were ok. That God had you in His care. As I prayed before you left..."God, I give Dora to you this week. You are a better parent than I will ever be, and I know you have good plans for her."

It is SO true that parents with children become so wrapped up in them that, when the children leave, husband and wife have to learn to communicate once again. Well, I want you to know that is a good thing...you deserve my intensity and focus. You deserve my undivided attention. Your Mommy and I will be ok, and we are ok. In fact we are really good sometimes...other times, God sustains us.

But this series of writings was never about us, they were designed to be about you, so that you could read them one day and have some memories, and some wisdom, and to know how much joy you provide...without even trying. So that is were we return.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Valentines Day to My Wife

John Eldridge, my favorite author who you are making it possible for me to go see in less than a month, says that a man can not find his true strength, his true nature in a woman. If a man does not know who he is, and takes this question to his woman, she will be unable to answer it for him, and this will eventually destroy their relationship.

I just want to say that in our relationship, Most Gorgeous, I am blessed that, though I did not know my true strength, had not been properly fathered to know what it meant to be a man, you were patient (mostly) and somehow knew that I would find my way to the answer. You have given me the support and freedom to explore this question over the past 18 years...and though I certainly have not answered it fully, I now know where the answer is coming from, and what it means to be able to bring my true self, and true strength into our marriage.

Thank you for loving me, and trusting in me. Let's find more adventures to brave together!

TQ

Friday, August 31, 2012

Who ARE you, and what have you done with the child I deserved?

Long time no post.

Lots of reasons...but let me just say, if you need me to help you play video games, well, I am very good right now. LOTS of practice.

My video-game partner said something hilarious, and true the other day while we were playing. I had told him I had to leave at 9. Nine came, and went, and I knew it, but was....video-game intoxicated. He said, "Isn't it 9 o'clock there? And didn't you have something you had to do at work?"
I agreed and said I was thinking about going in a little later but that I really should go now. So he says,

"Thank God I was here...to take the needle out of your arm."

Yeah. To some people, video-games are just like crack. Allows us to avoid the hard stuff of life, for just a little while, while pumping us full of euphoria inducing action.

Anyway, that's been one reason.

But this I can't let pass.

My wife and I have a friend who has not lived a very successful life. Not a very happy person, and is very much down on his luck. He has a talent though, one that really speaks to my daughter and she commented on this talent when she saw a letter from this friend to my wife. Well, my wife wanted to make this friend feel better so she mentioned my daughter's praise in her response letter. We get even more evidence of this talent in the next letter.

Well, me being an overprotective jerk father cautioned my little one, not wanting her to get her hopes up about this person, not wanting her to date this kind of person, not wanting her to get hurt...who knows; but anyway, I said something to the effect of:

"This person has not lived a good life little one. We have to remember that. They are a nice person, but have made many, many bad choices."

So what does she do. She writes her own letter to our friend, shared one of her own talents, and witnessed to him. Told him a little about God.

I felt 3 inches tall and embarrassed to be in the same room with such a beautiful spirit. She is already set toward the good works that God has prepared for her....and is acting on them, rather than thinking about them. Boy can she teach me!

Then, this past Sunday in church, she does this (No, I do not have time to learn how to imbed this youtube video):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q82qUwpClQM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

I don't deserve her....but then, God doesn't give us what we deserve, we'd all be dead. God gives us life. In this life are many hardships, anxieties, pains, and joys. As much as I would like to believe it is not true, my little one is here for God, not for me. He has plans for her, and will continue to shape and mold her towards those plans, if she can just stay moldable and shapable.

I have been feeling that I am not so much that person of late. Is it wrong that your own child is a better example of grace and peace and faith than you are? Thought so.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Points

I don't really know why, but I never really knew of, or expected to experience the capacity of a child to love his or her parents in the way that I now experience that love from Little One. I wish I could adequately communicate it to those who don't really know how to parent, or are just not very good at it. I would say something like this:




"When you do it right...or as near to "right" as you can, your child will know that they are precious to you, and, as they become conscious of other children around them whose parents are NOT doing it "as rightly" as you, they will come to appreciate you. And they will begin to repay that love with their own. Almost overnight, they will become less selfish, they will ask you how YOU are doing, they will bring YOU something from the store, they will grab YOUR hand. They will tell you that they love YOU, first. That is the point when you realize, among other things:
1) At least you are doing ONE thing sort of correctly
2) Kids do become less selfish as they grow older
3) You need your child at least as much as she or he needs you
This leads me to a funny exchange. Yesterday, my animal loving daughter once again began her apeal to let her have a cat. In fact, she offered to pay me $6 for the priviledge. She even knows which one she wants. I said "no." (I will forever and always say no...there are many good reasons other than that I don't like the smell of kitty litter, like, my wife AND that same daughter are very allergic to cats.)




Anyway:
Although she KNEW I would say no as I have every other time, she started to get herself worked up over it. I started to simply reflect how much I knew she wanted one and that I knew she was disappointed. Finally she stopped asking and stated simply that I had "just lost 50 points."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well last night you told Mommy you had just earned points for letting me have desert" she replys.
"So I just lost 50? How many did I have?" I begged.
"5" and we laughed and laughed.