Last evening, Trae and I went for a walk.
Life in ministry is busy. For that matter, life in any career these days is busy. The hectic demands of contemporary life, coupled with the incessant entertainment demands, force life into a break-neck existence. Anymore, nights at home without an agenda are the exception rather than the rule.
And so, last evening, against the backdrop of a beautiful purple-orange sunset in the west, my oldest daughter and I took a walk.
And we talked. We talked about God. We talked about Jesus. We talked about school. We talked about her friends. We talked about her challenges. We talked about her future.
That walk was long sorely overdue and, I must confess, was born of something insightful I read in Michael Farris's wonderful little book What a Daughter Needs from Her Dad: How a Man Prepares His Daughter for Life. The following paragraphs capture a letter Farris received from a friend, Pat, whose father had been a preacher. Despite the ministry load, Pat remembers how her father always had time, i.e. made time, to spend with her:
"My parents lived very busy lives with church activities and lesson/sermon preparation. Dinner was always rushed and my parents were always busy doing something for the church. As an only child, it was sometimes very lonely, except for the almost daily activities revolving around the church. I didn't see much of my mother between her job and the church. As a result, my relationship with my father was much stronger than with my mother.
But for me, the saving aspect of this very chaotic life was our evening walk. Every evening my father wanted to go for a walk around the neighborhood just to unwind. What else was there to do but talk to each other? I learned so much from my father and he became my friend. The time together was the cement in our relationship that weathered the difficult years when peer influences were so strong on me. For most of my contemporaries, the only time they spent with their parents was in front of the TV.
I only got about thirty minutes a day of undivided attention from my father, but that is probably 100 times more than most kids get. It made the difference in my life. To this day, when I go and visit my family, my dad and I go for a walk every evening. It's what I look forward to the most" (55).
Dads, I know your day today will be busy. I know you'll be pressed from all sides. I know demands will be made on your time.
But would you do me a favor? Take one of your children for a walk this evening. Just to talk. Just to be together.
It was the greatest part of my day yesterday; it just might be the greatest part of your day today!