My Son Went Home Without a Sticker That Day

A few days ago we took a family trip to The Living History Park in North Augusta, South Carolina.  At The Living History Park, volunteers dress up like they’re living during the 1770s so you can walk around and get a feel for how things were back then.  If, during the days leading up to the Revolutionary War, the town carpenter ate cheeseburgers between cuts and the gunsmith got calls from his wife on his smart phone, this place was very realistic.

Just a few minutes after we showed up, I noticed a guy walking around in a red coat.  He was supposed to be Lord Cornwallis.  Cornwallis was the British general who is credited with “loosing America.”  Unlike the cell phone talking gunsmith and the carpenter with the Big Mac, this guy played the part well.

I told my son to walk up to Cornwallis and ask him who won the war.  There’s nothing like involving your kid in a little international trash talk that goes back a couple of hundred years.  He was scared to death.

The man playing Cornwallis stayed in character for his answer.  He spoke about the advances being made by his troops and expressed his full confidence that the Patriots would be defeated.  I couldn’t believe what I heard next.

My son was already crying and shaking at this point.  The man playing Cornwallis wanted to smooth things over by offering him a sticker.  Stickers are perfect for getting kids to quit crying.

But there was a catch.

If he wanted the sticker, my son had to kneel down and pledge his allegiance to the king of England.

My son went home without a sticker that day.

I’ve never been more proud.

Watching this play out reminded me of my job as a father.  There will be hundreds, maybe thousands more times when my son will be expected to bow his knee to a phony god that is facing certain defeat.  He’ll probably hear convincing arguments from the popularity god, the money god and the sex god.  Part of what Paul means in Ephesians 6 when he tells fathers to train their children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord is that we teach them to stay standing when everything else is telling them to bow.  There may be a time in my son’s life when he is forced to pledge his allegiance to a human ruler like Nebuchadnezzar or a false god like Allah.  His refusal to do so may even lead to his death.

I pray that I will consistently teach both of my sons, in word and deed, that it’s important to keep standing.  I pray that, no matter what it may cost them, they only bow to the King whose kingdom will never be destroyed and will last forever (Daniel 2:44), “a kingdom that cannot be shaken” because “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29).