Throwing up has a way of making you think that you’re going to die in the next three to seven minutes.
I think that’s why my son wanted to talk to me about heaven yesterday.
He woke up crying in the middle of the night. I’ll never get used to waking up to that sound. Nor will I ever get used to seeing my son laying face down in his own vomit like some 1970s rock star.
He was fine. In fact he was laughing. But he spent the rest of the day feeling weak and scared that he was going to throw up again. When I got home from work we played Legos but he couldn’t handle it. He still didn’t have his strength so he laid on the couch while I played Legos. That’s normal, right? Okay, good.
That’s when the questions started coming.
One son was asking questions about monster trucks while my nauseous son was asking questions about heaven.
“Will we wear clothes in heaven?”
“Are monster trucks loud?”
“Do babies go to heaven?”
“Why are monster trucks loud?”
“Who will we see in heaven?”
“Will there be monster trucks in heaven?”
I think that I needed that conversation just as much as my kids did. Earlier in the day I was thinking about the best way to educate my two sons. Most of my options involved monthly payments of $4578.23. I thought about getting a second job as a monster truck driver but changed my mind when I found out that I’d have to grow another mullet.
When we think about the role of a father we typically only think about the responsibility to provide (1 Timothy 5:8). But this is only part of the job. Along with providing, fathers are also charged with instructing (Ephesians 6:4). I once heard a father who did very well on the providing aspect of his job but neglected his role as an instructor make a chilling statement about his rebellious daughter.
“I don’t know where I went wrong. I gave her everything she ever wanted.”
I think that’s where he went wrong.
It’s easy for fathers to hide in their work, constantly convincing themselves that they are providing for the family. But the real work of fatherhood is not done in the office, as important as that is.
The real work of fatherhood is done in the living room floor surrounded by Legos and trying to answer theology questions. It is there that my children learn what it means to live in awe of the glory of God.
And in their own way, that’s a lesson that they are also teaching me.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (ESV)