My grandson, Jonathan and I were driving to baseball practice lately. He loves baseball. He is the kid who comes out of the dug-out with his bat raised like William Wallace in Braveheart. He confidently steps up to the plate and kicks the dust off his cleats and looks the pitcher in the eye as if to say “I’m gonna knock this one out of the park”. He raises your spirit with that raised bat and his attitude is simply inspiring. He doesn’t usually get a hit…..seldom. He was awarded the last game ball simply because his attitude was amazing.
He comes back to the dug-out with that bat still raised and says ” I know what I did wrong and I will get better next time”. If you meet this kid, you fall immediately in love with him. He has a mind like a trap and nothing gets passed him. He was recently chosen in his school to speak to the astronauts on the space station. His question “can you see more stars from up there or is it about the same?” He loves looking through his telescope.
So, on this particular day we were driving along in my convertible with the top down just enjoying hanging out. He likes that he is now tall enough to sit in the front without a car seat. He puts his arm up on the arm rest and we are just two guys chillin. I casually asked him a question. I asked.”Jonathan, what are you working on right now?”. I always know he is busy doing something.
He looked at me with his big blue eyes and said “Well, Pop, I have been doing some wood work. I want to build a table and some things for the outdoors around the fire pit. ” He is eight! I never want to discourage him so I asked “So are you using the saw and hammer and those things?” He looked at me with a puzzled look, like how could you build a table without using those tools.
Then he said something that has been with me since that day. He said “My dad is teaching me.” I have to admit I got a bit choked up. I remember spending time with my sons, teaching them how to use tools. He went on to explain how “his dad” was this great builder and was teaching him how to use safety first. He had his own safety glasses that he and his dad bought together at Lowe’s. He told me he was learning basic skills with a tape measure and how to cut wood with a hand saw and keep it on the marked line. He gave me a fully detailed description of all he was learning. I was overwhelmed with joy.
He then said “My dad told me that your dad taught you and you taught my dad and that this was part of who we are. My dad said that one day I will probably have a little boy and I will teach him.” Then he rocked my world. He said “My dad is teaching me about God. He is teaching me about heaven and how to be a good person. He is teaching me everything he knows about growing up to be a man.”
By this time I was fighting back the tears. I know my son. My grand son could have no better teacher on this earth. And my grandson felt pride in saying. “My dad is teaching me”. How those words fill me with hope and gratitude.
Since then I have thought about all the things my dad taught me. He did indeed teach me wood working and building. Our last time together on earth was building in a garage and making a big room and bath room out of it. We loved those times together. And while he taught me of wood and tape measures and hammers and saws, he taught ME about Jesus and what it means to be a man. He taught me to respect my mother, my wife, my children, my president(right or wrong) and how to provide for those I love.
I know we have some serious problems in this world. I know the government, the schools, the church, could all do a better job at teaching our children. But I think the real issue is that we don’t have enough fathers teaching their sons about real things. It’s fine to teach them about throwing a ball , or running fast, or being a musician (well maybe not that). But it’s time for us to hear words that are more solid from children. We need to hear them say “My dad is teaching me”. And that needs to be a good thing…not a bad thing.
My dad was my mentor. He taught me how to study the bible. He taught me how to preach a funeral. He taught me that the greatest commodity on earth is love. Love that is a verb, not just an emotion. But more importantly, he would point me to the Lord and say, “He can and will teach you more than I ever could. Listen to Him and follow him.”
“My dad is teaching me……everyday”.