Albert Einstein was once invited to speak at a banquet that was being held in his honor at Swarthmore College. Hundreds of guests arrived, and you could feel the excitement in the room as they waited to hear the guest of honor speak. When it finally came time for Einstein’s speech, the well-known genius made his way to the podium, paused for a moment, and then said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I am very sorry, but I have nothing to say”. Then he walked back to his seat. The audience sat in shock. A few silent seconds went by and then he made his way back to the podium and spoke again. Einstein said, “In case I have something to say, I will come back and say it”.
The story goes that 6 months went by before he finally sent a message to the President of the college to tell him that he now had something to say. Another dinner was held, and Einstein made his speech.
I share that story with you because I feel like Einstein in the first half of the story. I don’t really know what to say. What does a person who has never been a foster parent have to say to foster parents? I’ve never been through the roller coaster of the adoption process, so how can I speak to it? I’ve never been in your shoes, but as I thought through those questions, I thought about how I do have a lot to say about parenting in general. I also believe God and His word have plenty that I could share with you, and because of those things, I will take a shot at sharing some words of encouragement.
Just so you know a little more about me. My name is Skip Allen and I am one of the Pastors at Hope Community in Shelby. My wife and I have been married for 10 years now, and we are expecting the birth of our 5th child in March. I heard a pastor say once that, “pastoring is a lot like parenting, because you don’t really know what you’re doing until you’re almost done with the job “.
I believe he’s right, but when you pack 5 pregnancies into the first 10 years of marriage you have to learn at least a few things about parenting along the way! So, in the space I have left I just want to share 3 encouragements with you, as you follow God’s leading to become the good and Godly parents He desires you to be, for all of the children He may bring into your homes, through whatever avenue he chooses.
These three principles are rooted in Genesis Chapter 27, and are boiled down from the 5 main points of the book “The Blessing”.
In Genesis 27 you have a scene where Isaac blesses his son Jacob, and I want to point out 3 things that are present there, that I believe all of our children need in their lives as well. In verses 26-29 of that Chapter we read:
26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near and kiss me, my son.”
27 So he came near and kissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said,
“See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed! 28 May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine. 29 Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!”
The first thing I believe we see here, which we need to see in our parenting relationships as well, is physical connection.
In the opening verse he calls his son to come close and to kiss him. There needs to be a close physical and APPROPRIATE connection. I know this is a difficult point in some situations because there has been physical and/or sexual abuse, but that doesn’t remove the need that we all have in our lives for appropriate and loving physical touch.
Children need that hug. They need the pat on the back. They need to feel that they are loved.
Steve Farrar shares a sad story in his book “Point Man” regarding the importance of physical touch in your children’s lives. He said:
Recently, Lindsey Crosby, 51, the youngest son of Bing Crosby’s four sons from his first marriage, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. At one point, he was quoted as saying about his relationship with his father, “I never expected affection from my father, so it didn’t bother me”. Perhaps it bothered him more than he realized.
I believe he is right, and I believe our children need a loving and appropriate physical connection.
The second thing I believe we see in this passage that we need in our parenting is Verbal Communication.
The majority of the blessing is a spoken word over Jacobs life.
One of the saddest things for me to hear people say in life are things like, “My dad never told me he loved me”, or “I never heard my mom say she was proud of me”.
Maybe the even sadder part is that many times the parent’s response will be something like, “Well, they know I love them!! I shouldn’t have to say it all the time!”. To which my response is always, “NO THEY DON’T KNOW IT AND YES YOU SHOULD HAVE TO SAY IT!! People only know what you tell them”.
And the truth is that your children want more than anything to hear you tell them how much you love them, how proud of you are of them, how much you want to see them succeed!!
Children need parents to cast vision over their lives, and to speak value into their lives.
For them to see that God has a plan for them, and that you believe they will accomplish it.
Proverbs 18:21 tells us that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue".
Parents and grandparents listen to me, no one has more potential of proving the power of life-giving words in your kids and grandkids lives than YOU!!!
The Third and final thing that we see in this passage that should be present in our parenting is a Spiritual Commitment.
The best thing you can do for your kids is to be spiritually committed. To constantly point them to Christ, and His best for their lives.
Did you hear what Isaac starts with in his blessing? Look at the end of verse 27 and the beginning of verse 28. He starts this blessing off where it has to start, and that is with God as the focus. God is the one that ultimately blesses and guides. Isaac is making a spiritual commitment the focal point of the blessing. Parenting is not about just being more affectionate and saying nice things. It all has to come from the point of wanting to lay a firm spiritual foundation in your family.
So it doesn’t matter if you have the privilege of parenting that child for 1 day or 40 years. Make the main priority of your parenting to point them to Christ. To say like Joshua does in Joshua 24:15, “…As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord”