Giving Dad His Grade
June 17, 2020
When it is all said and done, what do you want your kids to see when they look back at your parenting?I think if they were asked to give a grade on our parenting, we would all hope for an A+, but that is not realistic as we all made or are making plenty of mistakes, as well as many successes.
Four months ago my children gave me my “father grade”. It was 3 pm in the afternoon and I had a strange bout of indigestion. When I told my wife I felt pressure in my chest, she said it was time to go to the Emergency Room. My blood pressure was 211 and I was taken back to a room for further evaluation. I told Carla not to contact the kids until we knew more. She went into the bathroom for privacy and googled “How long can you live with a blood pressure of 211?” When the response was “minutes”, she immediately contacted our children, who live in Chicago, Nashville and Dallas.
When the angiogram showed I had 3 blocked arteries and 2 were double-blocked, I was scheduled for emergency surgery in a larger hospital a couple hours away. Our son lives about 4 hours away from us in Chicago. When Carla talked to him, he and his wife put their 4 kids in the car and drove overnight to be with us, which was a huge blessing as he is very good in a crisis and he helped Carla with making the many decisions that were necessary.
Both of our girls arrived the next day and I was thankful to be surrounded by my family. There is no better feeling than to be surrounded by those you love most when facing a traumatic situation out of your control. There are not words to explain what it felt like to hold hands with my family as they circled my bed and we prayed together as they were preparing to take me in for surgery. Amy’s husband didn’t come as he was sick, but he joined us for this special time of prayer on facetime.
How is this situation indicative of my “father grade”? My 3 kids stopped their lives and rearranged their work schedules to jump on the first flights they could to see me before I underwent emergency open heart quadruple bypass surgery.
It is during these times people tend to reminisce. My kids talked about how I loved them even when they were disobedient. They talked about how I cared for them when they were sick or ran to the store in the middle of the night because they had an upset stomach and needed some 7-up©.
They talked about how I arranged my schedule to be there and supported them at their events, cheering them on no matter what and now they wanted to arrange their schedules to be there for me at this most important moment in my life.
I took each of our kids out to lunch once a month when they were growing up. We talked about something that was bothering them or anything they wanted to talk about. These were memory makers for us all.
As were the times I sat in the front seat of the car with each of them when they first learned to drive. I looked and acted like I trusted them when I was actually petrified. But they knew I was there to help them learn, even when I had each of them drive in bad weather and traffic and they were petrified.
There were fun memories of spending a winter weekend in a hotel getting pizza, swimming, playing games and all of us trying to lie on the same bed to watch a movie. Or the times we went bowling and I made up silly things they had to do (like stand on one foot) each time it was their turn to roll the ball down the alleyway.
One daughter remembers the countless doctor visits I went with her to, and how I was there for every needle prick and hospitalization holding her hand, encouraging her and letting her know she was loved no matter what and she would never go through anything alone. She remembers the many times I got up with her in the middle of the night when she needed a respiratory treatment. How I would cuddle with her while she sobbed and trembled until she fell asleep in my arms and I would put her back in bed.
Our son remembers all the times he and I went to the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team’s Spring Training Camp, just the two of us. Our other daughter remembers all the bicycle rides she and I took.
Our kids remember Saturday nights because they knew I was going to ask them what they had learned in their devotional times with God that week. What great discussions we had about what God was teaching them and me! But most of all, they remember how intentional I was about teaching them to live their lives God’s way.
Your kids will give you your “father grade” the day when you need them and they are willing to drop everything not only to be there for you, but to encourage you and tell you they love you and how, if necessary they will take care of their mom like you had always taken care of them. Your kids will give you your “father grade” when they come to you asking for advice when they are parenting their own kids. Your kids will give you your “father grade” when they choose to live their life God’s way.
“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.”
When your kids look back on your parenting, what do you hope they remember about you?