A Little Love (1 of 3) | Devotions with Dad

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A Little Love (1 of 3)

For DAD Only:

Does Father like Son?

A cattle dog named Mack befriended me during my teen years.  However, after my first son entered our lives, I remarked to my wife of how much more fun kids were than dogs.

I enjoy my kids.  I would rather spend time with them than with anyone else.  Unfortunately, not all dads feel this way about their progeny, (and there are days I question my own devotion, like when they leave my $19.99 tool out in the backyard to rust).

Do you like your child?  Most of us respond, “Yes, I love my children!”  But do you like them?  You can love out of duty without really liking someone.

Love, but dislike.  You have relatives you view this way.  You love them enough to loan them your own car if they need it, but you dread having to ride with them anywhere.  A normal life experience will connect us with people to whom we feel great affection yet cannot tolerate for any length of time.  Personality clash, stereotypes, social class—call it what you like.

Unfortunately, this problem comes home, too.  Some dads don’t like their kids.  “Wait ‘til he’s sixteen, I’ll teach him to hunt and fish.”  The problem is, Dad, the longer we wait to invest in our young males, the more unmanly they grow everyday.

Many dads don’t like their sons because they’ve let mom turn him into a sissy.  He cries when he can’t get his way.  He would rather sit inside than help dad in the yard.  He tattles, he whimpers, he sulks in the corner… in some ways he resembles a household pet—and that’s because dad likes the family dog more than his own son.

Maybe Dad doesn’t like Johnny because he sees too much of himself in his own child.  Whatever the cause, kids can tell when Dad doesn’t like them.  Why doesn’t such a guy just call the Department of Family Services?  They would help him find a home where other people will like his kids (and the monthly revenue).

A father’s love comes natural.  The liking part takes work.  For example, one of my sons likes trains.  I personally don’t pay much attention to trains, except to complain about them when waiting for one at a crossing.  For his sake, however, I’ve learned to enjoy playing trains with him.  As with any other friend, I must have a common point of association with my child in order to develop a friendship.

Dad, I can’t create a lifelong friendship with my child by saying, “Have a great day at school, Son.”  I need to pick him up, ruff his hair, and wrestle with him on the living room floor.  I need to play hide-and-seek, dominoes, and Lincoln logs with him.  I must pray with my kids and set a godly example.  My daughter needs to hear me read to her.  I need to listen to her problems, take time to paint with her, and swallow my manhood to play with a doll or two (I have nightmares about PINK!).

The deadbeat dad says, “I like the family dog best because he’s glad to see me when I come home!”  Okay, Mr. Deadbeat, but he only likes you because you give him affection.  Try investing the same energy on the first family member you encounter—including your wife.  She’d probably jump, bark, and wag, too, if you ran up to her, tousled her hair, cooed, and scratched her behind the ear (okay, maybe not that exactly, but we get the idea).

I want my sons to grow up to be men I enjoy spending time with.  To get that, I can’t let my young man spend his childhood going to tea parties with mom and playing dollies with his sisters.  He needs a man.

I want my daughters to be open and honest as they mature.  If I want my girl to be emotionally stable enough to not ruin herself with some hormone-high teenager, I have to start building that atmosphere of trust and openness today.

Don’t look at kids like something that has gotten in your way.  Some parents farm out their kids to babysitters and daycares so much one wonders why they call themselves parents.

Dad, children are your priority.  Call yourself an engineer, a corporate superhero, or world evangelist, but before all of that, you are a Dad.  Don’t sideline the kids.  Set your priorities with the children at the top.  What does it gain a man to win the whole world and lose his own family?

________________________

 

Dad, read this story with your kids:

Alone on a Dark Road

Warm weather had chased away the frosty winter air, so Rusty, Misty, and their Dad had gone for a walk down the street.  They were just now returning.

“It got dark fast,” Rusty commented, as he walked alongside his dad.

“Well, it is still winter, Son.  We’ve just been blessed with some really warm weather for a couple days.”

Misty, who was walking ahead of the two guys, called back over her shoulder, “I want it to stay warm forever!”

Rusty said, “But then we won’t have anymore snow.”

“I want it to be warm and snowy,” she replied, “I like both.”  Rusty laughed and shook his head, knowing that it was impossible to have both at the same time.

The three friends walked past the thick, dark woods, just as the moon went behind a cloud.

“It’s spooky out here,” Misty whispered, trying to make sure she stayed on the road.

“I hope there aren’t any lions or bears out in those woods,” Rusty said.

“Oh, c’mon, kids,” Dad laughed, “there’s nothing to fear out here.”

Just then, Misty stopped still when she heard leaves rustling and heavy breathing.  Dad and Rusty almost ran into her.  “Listen,” she whispered.  They all stood still and listened.  Nothing… and then swish, swish, swish-swish!

“What is that, Dad?” Rusty moaned.

“Well, if I had a flashlight, I would tell you,” Dad said quietly, “but it sounds like an animal.”  The three of them listened for another moment to the swishing sound in the leaves and the heavy breathing until they heard a whimper.  “Hmmm,” Dad said.  He pulled out his cell phone and pushed a button so it shined its light.

“That doesn’t help much,” Misty said.

Dad walked down into the ditch toward the sound, shining his light ahead of him.  Misty grabbed Rusty’s hand as they watched their Dad approach the beast in the darkness.  He stopped.

“What is it?” Rusty asked.

Dad laughed.  “It’s a little dog!”

“It is?” Misty inquired.  “Is he mean?”

“No.”

Rusty and Misty hurried down the hill to where Dad stood over the little animal.  Just then, the moon peaked back out from behind the clouds and they saw a little brown dog sitting in the leaves with its tail going swish! swish! swish!

“Can we pet him?”

“Hmmm,” Dad thought out loud, “I guess it would be okay.”  He reached down to pat the little dog’s head as Rusty and Misty joined him in talking to the little dog, scratching behind its ear, and asking him where he came from.  “Well, I wonder how he got here,” Dad muttered.

“Can we keep him?” Misty had to know.

“He must belong to someone,” Dad concluded, “we’d better leave him so he can get back home.”

“Ohhh, he’s so nice,” Misty said as she stood up and followed her Dad and Rusty back onto the edge of the road.

“Maybe we could get a dog, right, Dad?” Rusty inquired.

“Oh, I don’t know, are you guys ready for the responsibility?” he asked as they continued their walk home.

“I will do it!” Misty exclaimed, “I can feed him and give him water!”

“Well, I guess we should talk something like that over with your mother,” Dad replied.

Misty glanced back at the little dog as they continued walking.  “Rusty, look!  He’s following us!”

“Dad!” Rusty exclaimed, “I think he likes us.”

“Hmmm.”

“Can we keep him?”

“He must belong to someone…” Dad said slowly.

“But there aren’t any houses right there,” Misty explained.  “Where could he have come from?”

Rusty answered, “I think someone dropped him off out here because they didn’t want him anymore.”

“Oooo, that’s mean,” Misty said with a frown.  “He’s a nice little doggie.”

Dad looked back at the little dog who still followed them at a distance.  “Did he have a collar?”

“No,” Rusty replied.

“Why would he need a collar?” Misty asked.

“If he had a collar,” Dad answered, “we could know whose dog he is.”

“See,” Misty triumphed, “nobody owns him.”

The little dog followed them all the way to the door of their house.  Rusty and Misty knelt down to pet him again.  “Look at how he wags his tail so hard that his whole body wiggles,” Rusty said.

“Let’s name him Wiggles!” Misty decided.

“Hey, Wiggles, do you need a back scratch?” Rusty asked.

Mom had come to the back door and said, “I see you found a new friend.”

“Can we keep him, Mom?”

“I think we should let him be and he will probably go back where he belongs,” Dad answered.

“Hon, he looks hungry.  Shouldn’t we feed him?” Mom asked.

Rusty answered, “We don’t have any dog food!”

“There’s leftover meatballs in the fridge,” Misty said.

“He does look a little skinny,” Dad conceded.  “We should give him some water, too.”

Misty filled a bowl with water while Rusty put some meatballs on a little plate.  They served their guest on the sidewalk in front of their house.  Wiggles ate and drank joyfully.  Soon, he had devoured all the food and drank half the water.

“Wow,” Misty said, “Wiggles liked that!”

“Okay, kids,” Mom said, “you need to get to bed.”

“What about Wiggles?” Rusty asked as they came into the house.

Dad answered, “Your mother and I will talk about the dog.  We have to figure out how to find his owner.”

The kids got ready for bed and were asleep soon, dreaming about puppies.

The next morning, when Mom got them up, they ran downstairs to see if they could find Wiggles.  Out the front door, down onto the sidewalk, they yelled, “Wiggles, here boy!”  Rusty whistled.  “C’mere little buddy!”

They didn’t see any dog anywhere around.  They both walked back inside.  “I guess he left,” Rusty said as he plopped down on the couch.

Misty went in to find her mom.  “Mommy, where’s Wiggles, did he—oh!”  She called out, “Rusty, come here, quick!”

Rusty jumped up and followed her into the laundry room.  “Wiggles!” he exclaimed when he saw the little dog lying down in a basket that Mom had set up for him.

“So did Dad say we could keep him?” Misty asked, as Wiggles ran over to get petted.

“We’ll see,” Mom said, “first we have to find out if someone lost him.  We put an announcement on the radio and an ad in the newspaper.”

“But someone left him out there on the road because they didn’t want him!” Rusty protested.

“Yes, it looks that way,” Mom replied, “but we just need to make sure, okay?”

“Okay.  So, we get to take care of him until then?” Misty asked.

“Yes,” Mom said.

Rusty looked down at the two empty bowls next to Wiggles’s bed.  He read the note on the wall above the bowls, “Proverbs twelve, ten.  What’s that?”

“Look it up, Rusty,” Mom encouraged.

“Hmmm,” Misty said, “maybe it’s a recipe for dog food.”

“In the Bible?” Rusty asked as he headed down the hall to find it.

Misty joined him in a minute and they read the passage, “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”

“What does that mean?” Misty asked.

“It means that bad people are mean to animals but that God’s people take care of their animals,” Rusty answered.

“Well, then, let’s take care of our animal!” Misty said, and they went to get some food and water for Wiggles.

After four days, nobody ever called about the little dog, so Rusty and Misty claimed him as their own.  They got him a new collar, took him for walks, and let him play fetch.

One morning, Rusty let Wiggles out the back door before he went to school.  After eating some cereal he went to get the dog, but couldn’t find him anywhere.  “Wiggles!” Rusty yelled, but the dog didn’t show up.

Find out next time what happens.

________________________

How did the kids feel about finding that little dog?

Why do you think someone abandoned this dog out on a dark road?

What did Rusty and Misty learn about having a dog?

Why does God want us to be kind to our (gerbil/cat/goldfish)?

If your child doesn’t have a pet, then discuss this regarding animals in general.

What if Rusty and Misty ever got tired of taking care of Wiggles?  What if they forgot to give him water or quit feeding him?

________________________

Extra!  Extra!  Access a coloring page and Bible verse card at:

http://danieljkoren.com/103extras.pdf

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Read the following scripture with the family:

Lads, Lasses, and the Lord’s Lap

Mark 10:13-16

Then they brought young children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.  But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

And He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them.

Matthew 18:1-6

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

“Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.  But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

________________________

Why does God care about little people?

Why are children’s needs so easily overlooked or ignored?

Why do you think the disciples didn’t like kids?

Different societies have had various views of children.  For example 18th century England exploited children in their factories, modern China sees them as unwelcome additions to society, and American toy producers strive to get them to purchase products.  How does God see children?

Tell about a time you felt annoyed by kids or wanted to ignore a person for some reason.  How do you think the person felt?  How do you think this makes Jesus feel?

Did Jesus mean just children, when He said “little ones”?  How could His message apply to new converts?

________________________

Memory Verse:

Proverbs 12:10

A righteous man

regardeth the life of his beast:

but the tender mercies

of the wicked are cruel.

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