Learning My Alphabet

Today I learned about the letter “Z.” Of course a 38-year old college graduate should have learned about “Z” a long time ago but I guess I am a slow learner. But the lesson I saw today in the 26th letter of the alphabet was not about phonics. It was about parenting and the brevity of life.

It seems like just yesterday when I walked Andrew (my "almost-5" year old son) to his preschool class at Southeast Christian Academy. Most parents know how quickly those years fly by. I thought I knew how quickly it would pass too. But nothing had prepared me for what I saw today when I walked him to class. They were working on the letter “Z.”

In case you don’t know it, Andrew’s class work on the final letter of the alphabet means the year is drawing to a close. How can this be? We just started on “A” yesterday. OK, it was really 8 months ago but it sure seems like yesterday. How can this be?

My mind raced with all manner of thoughts. If you think I was wondering about his college, marriage, and career choices you would be wrong. My thoughts went to the recent statistics about children and their world-view. It seems as if a child’s world-view, the way they think and process information, is largely set by the age of 10-11. In other words, my son is about ½-way there.

So my thoughts were not about the secular. I wondered, “Will he know Christ?” I mean really know Him? Not just the stories…not just the Sunday School answers…not just the facts…I mean really know Christ? Will he know more about Diego and Curious George than he knows about the Scripture? Will his love for the Savior be outweighed by his love for football and hunting?

Or will my son be like the 70% of churched kids who leave the church for 1 year or more after graduating from high school? Will my son be in the ½ of 1% of American young people (the so-called Mosaic generation) who possess a Biblical world-view? Or will he find a comfortable place among the 99.5%?

Will Andrew’s dad have an ongoing passion to reach and teach his son? Or will I bury my head in the sand like most parents (even Christian parents) and obliviously skip down the road of life as if on my way to a lazy afternoon of fishing?

As Andrew sat at his desk to begin working on his letter “Z” the inspired words of James came flooding in to my spirit. “Life is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” That Scripture was not intended to be given numeric value but yet I pondered, “If a 77-year life is a vapor…and my son’s world-view is established by age 11…then I have 1/7th of a vapor to get this thing right.”

As a parent and a pastor the Lord is reminding me the task is great and the time is short. I cannot be so devoted to my calendar, my church, or my convention that I miss the harvest field right here under my roof. I told the church last night that I don’t merely want to raise 3 Christians. I want to raise 3 productive and effectively-serving disciples. Andrew and his sisters deserve a dad like that and our Lord is worthy of me being a dad like that.

Pray for me that I will keep my hand to the parental plow and my eyes on the finish line. And pray that I will do that today.

After all, my son just starting working on the letter “Z.”