Friday, March 6, 2009

A Quiet Lunch and a Close Call

As I sit typing this, my princess is here in my office with me. It is the beginning of her spring break so they let the kids out of school early. We had a wonderful Daddy and Dora lunch at the cafeteria. I was able to listen to her uncensored questions and comments throughout our hour and fifteen minute lunch. It will most certainly be the highlight of my day...if not my week.

While she was speaking to me at one point I noticed an elderly woman approach an individual at a table and glanced over to where this was occuring, for some reason attempting to understand the meeting. Upon returning my eyes to my little one, she asked "Why were your eyes over there like that?" I explained the situation I had observed and she replied, "When I look at something, it means I'm listening to it." This comment threatened to fly by me until I replayed it in my mind with some Daddy translation: "I was talking to you Daddy and you stopped listening...why?" I can only guess the rest of the discussion might have included her confusion as to why I thought something else was more important than what she was saying to me. Fortunately, I caught it and let her know I was listening to her and was very interested in what she was saying, then repeated it to her so she knew I had heard. This satisfied her and she continued. Close call!

Close call? Why? I believe those moments are important. There is a comercial running on the radio currently which reminds "dads" that we will never know which moments will make the most impression on our children. The lean is toward the positive, but we all know the door swings both ways. They remember random negatives as well. So, I believe in those "small" moments and feel like I dodged a silent bullet. How many do we miss though? How many children take those blows in silence, only to incorporate them into their self-concept? I did. I still revisit a few innocent slights from my parents, and a few not so innocent. They didn't know, and they loved me, but I didn't understand all that in those moments. I took the blow and simply and quietly concluded it was personal.

Sometimes I think I am too liberal in my compassion for children. Sometimes I know I sound like a bleeding heart and I don't want to do so. But then I remember the greatest "bleeding heart" of all. He never faltered in his clear, compassionate love for his best friends, or to any He met. Jesus took his words, and his relationships very seriously. I think if he had had any children, he would have listened to them all the time. I think he would have marveled at the wonder in their eyes and teared up as he remembered or anticipated their saddness. I think he would have gone to bat for them at all costs, and valued them more than even his own life...

Yeah. Close call.

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