Monthly Archives: March 2013

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Please bless the orphans and the orioles…

In a recent post (My Prince Daddy) I wrote about the unique experience and warm feelings I get when putting my twin girls to bed. Well, after I’m finished putting them to bed, I get to go over to Christian’s room and settle him down.

The routine with him is very similar. We have already read books with the girls so we turn the lights off and sing a few songs together. With Christian the singing of songs MUST be accompanied by the rubbing of his back. After being enchanted by You are my Sunshine, Jesus Loves Me, and Amazing Grace (My chains are gone) we’re ready to pray before he needs to try to fall asleep.

We have been praying with Christian since before he could talk. And then once he was able to talk we invited him to join in and sometimes repeat a whole prayer after us. Around 2 ½ years old I had the “brilliant” idea of having him pray every night the words “please bless all the orphans.” I wanted to give him the opportunity to pray for other kids, so I explained what an orphan is and why we need to pray for them.

When we started adding this phrase to the end of our nightly prayers, we were living in Maryland and it was the beginning of baseball season in the Spring. Being a lifetime, hardcore Baltimore Orioles fan, I had been talking about them a lot recently. Then one night it happened. As I was finishing the prayer I said, “and please bless…” leaving a moment of silence so Christian could finish with, “all the orphans.” But on this night without a moment’s hesitation Christian stated, “all the orphans and all the orioles!” A bright smile rose to this daddy’s face.

For those of you who are already parents, you know the type of smile that crosses your face in that moment. Is it pure joy? Is it pure love for your child? I don’t know, but it’s a feeling I have only felt in the role of father. For Christian it was a very simple act, the words orphans and orioles start with the same sound. So I guess he thought we should ask God to bless both of them.

Did the Orioles make the playoffs last season for the first time in 15 years because we were praying for them every night? Maybe. Probably not. But that’s not the lesson I want to communicate to my son every night. I want to communicate the need to go to God in prayer. I want to communicate that we need to pray for those less fortunate than ourselves. I want to communicate that it’s ok to like sports and have things you’re passion about. And I greatly desire to communicate that his daddy is willing to kneel by his bed every night to sing to him, rub his back, and ask God to guide and bless our lives.

May we all take the time to intentionally communicate to our children what is truly important in this life.

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What’s that in your ears?

My children are always going to have an interesting view of grandfathers. Well, of the hearing of grandfathers. My kids are going to think that all pappaws, pappys, and grandpas have hearing problems. You see, while only in their early 50’s both their grandfathers already have hearing aids.

Rachel’s dad, Dwayne, has deteriorated hearing for a very legitimate reason. It iust makes sense that if you’re a 20+ year brain cancer survivor that went through 3 brain surgeries and several rounds of chemo you might have some hearing damage! My dad on the other hand, only has himself to blame. He’s a general contractor, and spent 6+ hours one day using a jackhammer breaking apart sidewalk without any type of ear protection. At first they were afraid he would lose his hearing completely, but with the hearing aids he hears “ok”  now. (Unless you ask my mom—who will say he’s ALWAYS had bad hearing. 🙂

We’re very glad that our Pappaw and Pappy can both hear!

The lack of hearing that our fathers have experienced made me think about one of the essential functions of being an intentional father: listening. We hear our children screaming, crying, and jibber-jabbering, but do we really listen?

Familyeducation.com has an interesting article of the major benefits of listening to your children. Some of these benefits include building strong relationships, knowing what’s going on in their lives, and it shows respect to your child. (Read the entire article here.)

How else are we supposed to know what’s going on in our kids’ lives if we never take the time to ask them questions and truly listen? Maybe it was really the constant listening to their children and grandchildren that caused our dad’s eardrums to deteriorate?

Fathers and Grandfathers—may we all have the privilege of poor hearing as we grow older if that lack of hearing means that we have worn out our eardrums from listening to the many stories, problems, and joys of our children.

I hope I’m on my way to my own set of hearing aids!

–SCH

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My Prince Daddy…

Most nights I have the opportunity and privilege to put my 3 oldest children to bed. Rachel and I share the duties of getting their clothes changed, teeth brushed, and potty trips taken. Then she takes the baby, Adriah, to the nursery/guest room and starts the routine of feeding her and putting her to bed. This gives me the responsibility, and sometimes chore, of putting the others to bed by myself.

The normal process at this point is to read a few books in our bedroom, and then send Christian to his room to wait while I put the twins to bed in their room. It is during this time almost every night that I’m reminded of the simple joys that go along with being a father of girls.

You see….all little girls are princesses. I can’t remember if I ever saw the movie A Little Princess, but I love this quote from it.:

Miss Minchin: Don’t tell me you still fancy yourself a princess? Child, look around you! Or better yet, look in the mirror.

Sara Crewe: I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses. All of us. Didn’t your father ever tell you that? Didn’t he?

After going to their bedroom, sitting in the blue rocking chair with a girl on each knee, and turning out the lights, we sing a few songs together as the glow of the nightlight covers us. These songs MUST always include You are my Sunshine, Jesus Loves me, The B-I-B-L-E, Running Over, and somehow Silent Night has worked its way in there.  Then they each get into their matching little farmhouse toddler beds my dad and I made for them and the litany of kisses and “one more kiss” pleas ensues. I pray with them, turn on their music, and then say my now customary “Goodnight my princesses!”

My Princesses

My Princesses

As only little girls can, they now reply back “Goodnight my prince daddy!” Every night I can’t help but smile. No matter how much they haven’t listened that day, the smile still comes.

At this point in their lives I am their daddy, their prince. As fathers, may we always be princes to our daughters and may we always treat them like princesses……because all girls are princesses inside, sometimes it just takes a princely father to help them see it.

–SCH

Intentional Fatherhood

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