Child Training

One’s mind goes in a multitude of directions when the sermon title is along the lines of child training. If you’re a young person you may think, not for me. I wonder if parents feel very preached to and squirm in their pews. Singles may tune out, unless they are teachers vying for answers as well. I find the truth of the Word so guiding and comforting. Anyway…

Recently I wrote a tribute to my dad since I think one should do these kind of things this side of the River; and I put it here in honor of the child training of which I was once a recipient.

Sixty-Four Lines

On Your 64th Birthday

You teach like a champion,

Explain with simple illustration,

Demonstrate truth like Jesus did with

Objects common to nature—geese,

Rhythm, the body, our brain!

We celebrated when you turned forty,

Had a party at school in the basement!

I like sixty-four better. Your hair is whiter,

Thinner, rooted deeper in wisdom.

You’ve endured a lot. I wonder if the

Court trials the days you were pinioned

On the witness stand held a candle to this

Past year when covid collapsed your normal

And you suddenly ground gears with brothers.

I think it has stretched you more than

The year you went into service with

Twenty-three dollars or was it two hundred three

In your pocket and the Little Green Duster

As your only collateral.

A recent sermon you preached on harmony

Versus unity struck a tremendous chord

With me. We are all so different.

A kidney, an eye, a toe, or a lung.

If only all would understand it’s more about

Following the Director than singing their own line!

I remember how you used to sing in the

Shower. I’d waken to hear your rich

Melodies, and I still am amazed at your

Energetic tenor every time I sit in the same

Auditorium! I want my children to know

Every song in Praises We Sing. That must

Have been your philosophy back when we

Sang through the books in family devotions.

Speaking of philosophies, I was thinking

Lately of how you taught us that tardiness

Affects others exponentially for when you

Slide in one minute late, but there are ten

Around the table, you have just stolen ten minutes!

You also believed in frugality and switched off lights

As you made your way to your spot at the head.

I guess our family dynamics were more

Enormous than some. That didn’t

Dampen your adventurous spirit of

Driving grandparents and a wife and

Five children to Belize in Nineteen Eighty-Seven,

Or leave behind seven littles but fly the

Three oldest to the other side of the world

To stand on the equator in Two Thousand. I’ve

Been permanently changed because of that trip.

Vehicles are to be driven, not idolized.

Mornings are golden, why squander gold!

Church is for participation in the bride of Christ.

Why miss out? Strangers are unknown friends.

And dogs are for revenue. Thank God.

You told me once how God took you from

The farm – like David from the sheepfold.

How it’s not so much about skill but

Availability, a heart in tune with the Father.

Your prayers are practical because Christian

Living is where the rubber meets the road.

It’s why you don’t need to slam the trunk,

But maybe why you should lift up your

Voice when you speak. And then sit down

When you are done – without circling three times.