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John Windvogel often talks about his father and always says something good about him. After school he couldn’t wait to take food to his dad. He tells how his dad allowed him to operate the harvester, under supervision. How, together, they went to hunt porcupines. He says that his dad was like a friend to him, they worked together, talked a lot and played. He tells how his dad taught him what was right and what was wrong, and how he would often say to him: “My son, you must…” or “My son, you must not…” His dad died 38 years ago already, when John was only 13 years old.

To say “my son” suggests a loving quality in the voice of a father. In the book Proverbs, the wise Solomon uses the phrase “my son” 23 times, viz: My son, if sinners entice (tempt) you, do not consent (Prov. 1:10). My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. … Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way (Prov. 23:15 – 19).

Of Jesus John writes: In the beginning the Word (the Son of God) already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1 – 2). This Son of God, Jesus, told his disciples:The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them. And you are my friends” (John 15:13, 14). Jesus gave his life for each one of his friends, and thus for each one of us. If we are friends of Jesus, it means that we shall also be friends for one another. He said: “As you did it (good deeds) to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40). What we do to Jesus’ friends, we do to Him.

            If we treat a child well, we do so to Jesus’ friend, to Jesus Himself. At some point Jesus told his disciples: “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14). To us, little children are role models of the citizens of the kingdom, of God’s people, of humbleness and dependence (on God). For a child his parents are the most important role models. To become a good role model is to obey God’s will, spend time with your children, partake in things with them, have discussions, work together.

The greatest gift that parents could give their children is the parents’ love for each other. The child will notice this love in the way they treat each other, if they enjoy talking to each other, do things together, care for each other, spend time with each other. The child will notice that his parents love each other if they are the best of friends to each other. Children will remember it once they are also married. Children are not our possessions. They have been given to us to prepare them for life, for being children of the kingdom of heaven.

Perhaps we should ask ourselves what our children will remember about us. What was really important to them? When children speak at the funeral of a parent, it is normally not about what the parent achieved, or about the presents which they received from their parents, but about the love and quality time they received from the parent. Will our children, 38 years after we have died, still regularly talk about the things we taught them, how we played with them, how we were friends to them? Wouldn’t we like to be remembered that way?


Our Father, help us to be parents in whom our children will notice something of You, our heavenly Father. Amen.