The Most Significant Award I’ve Ever Received : Part 3 Light at the End of the Tunnel
Updated: Sep 3, 2022
My last post talked about the demands of the consulting lifestyle, and the challenge of connecting with my kids when I was far away.
So, there I was, leaving my child hanging, again with nothing to say. I hated these moments. Before consulting, I used to cherish time with my kids every night. We would sit and read picture books. I would tuck them into bed and help them say their prayers. Then, in those moments far from home, I couldn’t even think of something to say.
One night, on a whim, I asked one of my kids what their stuffed animal did that day, and I got a very silly story. As they went on, I just kept asking “and then what happened?” It was only four words, repeated six or seven times in a conversation, but it was something. I started to connect despite everything going on around me.
That worked for a couple of calls, then my kiddo caught on, and turned it around. “No Daddy. You tell me what happened.” I drew a blank and stalled by saying I’d have something the next day. My child was disappointed, but I could tell they were hopeful about hearing a story the next day.
The whole conversation was on my mind as I went to bed, and the next morning it was like an itch that couldn’t be scratched, as I did my daily bible reading and devotional work. At the time, I was reading A.W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God. This was a book given to me a few years earlier that I had tried to read many times but couldn’t get into. However, the solitude of hotel life removed the distractions around me, and let me focus in a way that I was able to finally focus on the depth of the subject.
I was learning many things about the Christian faith and the reality of the holy spirit. The more I learned, the more I wanted to find a way to share these insights with my kids. However, it had taken years for me to get into the right frame of mind where I could study these things. So how would I get these points across to my kids, ages four to nine? As I got to thinking about it, I realized I might be able to solve two problems at once.
What if I took ideas from my kid’s tales about their stuffed animals, and put them into a fantastic story? I could also use that story to share some of the things I was learning, in a way that would make sense to my kids. It was a pretty bold idea. I’m no C.S. Lewis, but my kids liked it when I made up a story. So why not?
So, I started taking things from my devotions and doing a mash-up with my kid’s animal stories. Then, I would jot down a paragraph over coffee, before heading off to my customers for meetings.
That was the ideal. This was often as difficult or more than the job I was tasked to do. Quite frankly, not every day was an inspiration, and I often wanted to just blow off the whole thing. But that line about great men rarely make great fathers kept rolling around in my head.
So, I had to come up with something I could be sure to talk about every day regardless of how creative I was feeling that day. It took a little work, but I found a handful of things my kids were really interested in and added them to a news app on my phone. With that, I could grab a fun fact of the day or a joke to tell, even if I didn’t have a story.
Once I figured this out, I no longer worried about what I would say at the end of the day. But, it’s what happened next that surprised me the most.
To be continued in Part 4 Hidden Treasure