Breakfast at Midnight

February 2, 2008

It wasn’t until we were all seated around the breakfast table that we heard the story.

The truth is, I sleep so soundly, that I never heard what had happened.

But Margie did.

It was just after midnight when she woke up to a rather strange night sound.

At first, she could not be sure, but as the clouds of sleep left her mind and she listened more closely, she could distinctly hear the sound of footsteps in the kitchen.

Of course, Margie’s first inclination was to reach over and rouse me with a warning that someone was in the house. But then, she noticed another noise. Had someone just opened the cupboard and got a mixing bowl out?  Now it sounded like drawers were being opened and spoons, measuring cups, and the Bosch attachments were coming out!

What was going on?

Margie decided to investigate on her own. Sliding out of bed, she went upstairs.

The whole of the dining room and kitchen were ablaze with lights. The ongoing sounds of food preparation could be heard as faithful and diligent hands reached for this spice, that bucket of flour, and another scoop of sugar.

“Esther!  What are you doing up?”

Without even a flinch or a glance in the direction of my astonished wife, our wonderful 10-year-old daughter replied over her shoulder, “Making breakfast Mom. I thought we’d have some lemon poppy seed muffins.”

Silence.  Margie didn’t know what to say.

At last, Esther, sensing that something was amiss, turned around and looked at Margie.

“What’s the matter, Mom?”

“Well, it is 12:18 in the morning. I’m just surprised that you are up already.”

“WHAT?  It can’t be!  I set my alarm for 5:30am and it just went off a little bit ago,” Esther returned in disbelief and shock.

“No, really, look at the microwave clock.”

Sure enough, 12:19 glowed brightly on the face of the clock.  With a somewhat sheepish grin Esther set everything down and walked over to Margie. “Well, Mom, I guess I can finish this in the morning. Let’s go to bed.”

We later discovered that earlier that day, her clock had been unplugged by our rather curious 2 year old. Esther had plugged it back in and reset the clock… but not the alarm, which remained stubbornly at 12:00 a.m.

For the past 3 months before the preparations for the midnight breakfast, Esther had taken  over the responsibility to make breakfast each morning. And true and faithful as ever, she had simply jumped out of bed and got to work when the alarm went off.

Margie and I reflected on that experience over the next few days.  What had caused a 10-year-old girl to jump out of bed at midnight, in the middle of the winter and cheerfully go about doing her chores?

Besides the fact that this precious daughter of ours is an angel, we have come to several conclusions:

1.    High Expectations – Margie and I have always made the assumption that our children are wonderful, responsible, and obedient. And we have never let their temporary shortcomings prove us otherwise. We expect the best out of them and tell them so in plain, unmistakable terms. Not only that, but we send that message to them through our actions and by holding them accountable to high levels.  If a job is not done right – they feel our disappointment, “We expected more than this sloppy job out of you.  Will you please do it right – the way we know you can?”  And when they meet or exceed our expectations (as they usually do) we praise them lavishly, “Great job!  You did awesome!  Really, this is incredible!  But, it is nothing more than we expected… we knew you could do it all along.”

2.    Freedom to Rise… or Fall – With that expectation, we give them the freedom to rise or fall, to win or fail, to succeed or wallow in mediocrity.  But, no matter how they perform, they know it was their baby, their stewardship. The tasks and jobs we give them are not just perfunctory jobs to keep them busy. We make sure that they are essential aspects of running the house and keeping this large family alive. Like making breakfast. If we don’t eat, life is pretty uncomfortable.  And Esther knew that. She knew deep inside that we were all counting on her.  Hyrum knows the same thing about taking the garbage out. Joshua feels that pressure when the dishes need to get washed and put away. They all feel the weight of responsibility. They all have their stewardships. They all are left to do their duties as best they can and as they see fit.  They LOVE the pressures of duty, responsibility, and a family dependence on their actions.

3.    Side-by-Side Training – The freedom and responsibility that is heaped on their shoulders is not without training and love. In fact, in the beginning, when they are first given those assignments, we work very closely and repeatedly by their sides. Esther learned to make muffins by helping Margie do it dozens of times, with more and more of the work slowly being transferred to her.  The knowledge to make a perfect pancake from scratch (a feat she now does effortlessly and with great skill) came from working with me repeatedly over hot skillets. Joshua, Jared, and Hyrum handle every aspect of keeping four goats, 25 chickens, and 2 bulls alive and healthy without even a word of supervision from me because we have worked for hours on end in the barn together.  We have found that working closely with our children and slowly transferring duties to them, works miracles that barking orders at them can never accomplish.

As parents, we sometimes catch glimpses of the growth and learning of our children. We find unusual moments when the lessons we have endeavored to impress on their hearts come shining through with a strength and glory that causes our hearts to burst with pride and joy.

Breakfast at midnight was one of those moments for Margie and I.

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After the Technique Comes the Concerto

December 5, 2007

“I’m must concerned that he doesn’t like it.  If he doesn’t like it, he will never be any good and feel pushed his whole life. And that is not what piano lessons are all about.”

Joshua’s piano teacher was right.  He wasn’t enjoying it… and he was doing terrible at it.

The sad part was that he has so much talent.  He can pick out songs, has a great ear for tone and pitch, and has an excellent sense of rhythm (unlike his father).

But what he didn’t have was the passion and all the skill and talent in the world doesn’t amount to a hill of beans without passion.

So, why didn’t he… and how could he get that passion?

That was the question Margie and I asked ourselves over and over during the next few days.  When we talked with him about it, he simply said, “I don’t like those exercises she makes me do – they’re not even songs and it is so boring!”

So, how do we make the technical exercises fun and exciting?

Here is where we articulated an enormously valuable lesson of life that Margie and I had both learned, but not realized it.

The answer is: you don’t make it fun and exciting – you just do it because it’s the right thing to do.

Isn’t so much of life like that?  As a mother, does Margie get all jazzed up and excited about changing a stinky diaper?  How about mopping that floor?  Or do I just fall all over myself to do some of my work projects that take away from family time?  No, none of those things are our “favorite, most exciting things” in the world to do… but they have to be done so that we can enjoy the great thrills of life.

The fact is, much of life is boring, mundane, drab, and flat.

It was not an easy conversation for either of us, but before the next piano lesson, I sat down with Joshua, “I know you don’t like those technical exercises, but you know what?  If you don’t do those today, you’ll never be able to play the songs you love tomorrow.  Without the drab and boring stuff, there can never, ever be exciting stuff.  Plus, if you only ever do the ‘fun’ stuff, you’ll never really enjoyit, never really be good at it, and eventually despise it – and I don’t think that is what you want.  It’s your choice, but I think you should hang in there, master the basic technical stuff and see what happens.”

He thought about it for a while and finally decided to drag and drudge his way through.

And he did.

It is now a few months later and the house rings with music.  There is a piano upstairs and one downstairs.  Stop by on any given moment and you just may find his fingers flying across the keys, filling the air with a catchy tune here, or a sweet melody there.

What a satisfying feeling to see that he has learned that life is not all bells, whistles, flash, and fun… sometimes it is just plain hard work, dull, and boring… but well worth it.


Running With Chickens

September 24, 2007

Of course, not everyone sees it the way I do.

I simply call it “free range” – I’ve read that it helps improve egg quality, omega content, and increase the vitamins and minerals.

But the neighbors, especially the ones in the apartments next to us, don’t necessarily look on those long-ranging chickens with the same affection and appreciation as our family does. In fact, over the past year we have had countless comments – and even a phone call or two, “Hey, did you know your chickens are wandering around the apartment complex?”

No kidding… they’re “FREE RANGE!”

Our immediate neighbor has donated more than one of his garden plants and decorative flowers to the health and well-being of our growing flock. And, in case you are wondering if flowers change the taste of the eggs… they don’t. He got fed up with it and finally put a fence with smaller links around his back yard. Lucky for the chickens, he only put a 3 foot high fence and the chickens, who roost at about 14 feet up in the barn rafters had no problem hopping over the fence and continuing their feast.

Sunday, while visiting with some of the children from the apartments, I was even informed that several of those wild roaming hens were trying to check the mail – or at least had gotten up on top of the apartment’s mail box and were pecking, cackling, and producing biological waste products. Humm, the mailbox is about a block away from our property… that’s definitely “free ranging.”

But that is all about to change…

Now, it is not like I’m trying to keep chickens in a 20’x20’ backyard. I mean, we have almost 2 acres of property. But, it’s a funny thing… those blasted “free range” chickens seem to be magnetized to everyone else’s property and seemed compelled to go to great lengths to get into their properties. Well, at last, with winter coming on, I determined that enough is enough.

“At the crack of dawn tomorrow morning, we are going to rebuild the chicken coop and create a large-scale run that the chickens will never be able to get out of,” I declared to the children on Friday night.

So, Saturday, the sun peeked over the eastern mountains to find five of my children by my side in the barnyard huddled up and making plans for the incarceration of our hen colony.

“Joshua and Esther, dig through the scrap wood pile and find me three boards 7 feet long each – if they are longer, we’ll cut them down.”

“Jared, you and Tony (that’s the neighbor boy from one of the apartments who loves helping us work on the farm), you guys go round me up some more tee-posts. I think there are a couple by the cherry tree and then a few more back by the first gate.”

“Hyrum, get me the wire cutters, the nails, and the hammer.”

“Isaac, will you take this bowl into mom and then bring me out some water? We’ll need that too, before long… and HURRY! everyone – there is a good storm coming and I’d rather not do this project in the rain.”

So, off they went while I began measuring fencing and designing the run. Within a few hours we were digging holes for fence posts, making gates, pounding tee-posts, hanging chicken wire off the barn roof and generally working up a good sweat working on the project.

As I drilled the corners of the new gate together I looked up to see my children. Some were helping with the gate, others cutting baling wire, and other scooping manure into the wheelbarrow. The thrill of the moment was rich and satisfying. Into my mind came the scriptureal edict given to Adam and Eve when they were cast out of the Garden of Eden:

“In the sweat of they face shalt thou eat bread…”

I also thought of the scripture that says,

“Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.”

And finally, the rather poignant wisdom from Proverbs that mixes no words:

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:”

In all of these work is the central theme. I couldn’t help wonder to myself if I was really teaching them the values of hard work ethic – or, as Solomon puts it – the ways of the ant.

Maybe I was. Maybe, that morning as we were running around with the chickens, we were all learning a little more about getting the job done, personal sacrifice, self sufficiency and the thrill of straining your muscles and bending your arm for a worthy cause.

Maybe, in years to come, the day with the chickens would be long forgotten, but the principles embedded in my children would carry them through the tough times that lay ahead. No doubt, one day they would be tasked with raising children, providing for a family, doing an honest day’s work for an employer, serving others when it was uncomfortable, or giving of their time when they really didn’t want to.

Maybe, just maybe, in those times when life called on them to give their all, the lessons they learned today will empower them to rise up and claim the greatness they were born to inherit.

So, while not everyone – very few in fact – can have 2 acres, 50 chickens, and 40 apartment residents to serve as a peanut gallery, I can’t help but believe that all parents everywhere can find a way to have their own “day with the chickens” and teach their children how to work.


There IS A God, And He DOES Answer Prayers – Part II

September 13, 2007

Both the doctor and Margie felt that she would be fine being induced.

I had zero reservations also.

Margie had been induced on all but one of our children and each time it went smooth. In fact, the most nerve wracking experience we have had in bringing our then seven children into this world is on the one that was not induced and did not have an epidural. Isaac, our fifth child, was turned sideways and we wondered if we were every going to get him out. The pain was unbelievable and caused Margie to nearly faint on several occasions. So, my apologies to any “all natural” believers out there, but that is just our experience.

At any rate, we felt that being induced would be just fine.

And after 6 hours of sitting in the hospital, everything was fine. The oxytocin was flowing nicely. The epidural had Margie resting comfortably – even taking 20-30 minute naps here and there! We read together, napped together, talked about the other children and really enjoyed the private time we had (minus the occasional nurse that came in to check on us and that ultra aggravating blood pressure cuff that automatically kicked on every 15 minutes… Margie hates that thing!)

At about the seven hour mark, is when things began to get a bit dicey. As the contractions got stronger and closer together, Sariah’s heart rate would drop out the bottom. 135… then drop… 105. Back up to 123… then drop… down to 85. Slowly back up to 118… then drop… 61.

With the sound up on the heart monitor we could hear the tones drastically change from a high-pitched, swishing sound, to a slow, monotonous pulsating sound. With each drop our anxiety grew and my concern for both mother and child knew no bounds.

Over the next 60 minutes they dropped the oxytocin levels, inserted a head fetal monitor, and watched everything very, very carefully. If these kinds of decelerations continued, the only option left on the table was an emergency c-section. Oh, that dreaded word. We thought, with the good news of the placenta moving up and away from the cervix, that we were past worrying about that word. But here we were again. And this time, it was not just a formality to avoid complications with the placenta, it was a life or death emergency situation for the baby.

Now, to understand what happened next, I need to give you a bit of scriptural background. If you believe in miracles and Godly power, then our experience will not be surprising to you at all. However, if you do not believe, then you are likely to be dubious about what I’m about to tell you. So be it.

In ancient days God granted man the power and authority to act in His name and to be protected by or perform miracles with that power. We see things like Moses parting the Red Sea, Daniel walking out of the lions’ den unscathed, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego standing unharmed in the midst of a fiery furnace, and Elijah calling fire down from heaven, blessing the widow’s flour and oil to last throughout the drought, and finally raising her son from the dead.

Likewise, in the New Testament, Christ is seen healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, causing the lame to walk, casting out evil spirits and raising the dead. After His Ascension, the Apostles are found doing similar miracles.

All of these things were done through the power and authority of God. In our day, God has likewise given that power and authority to man. Through his authorized servants, many, many miracles are performed and people around the world are blessed, just like in days of old.

It has been my lot in life to be among those authorized servants, and to receive the power and authority to bless and heal and act in the name of God. And so, in this very scary situation, where the health of my dear wife and the life of my precious, unborn child hung in the balance, I felt no hesitation is giving my wife a special blessing. Together, we prayed – fervently – and then I blessed her.

The effects of that blessing were immediate and real. It was now about 10:40pm. Immediately following the blessing, the nurse came in (not knowing anything about the prayers and the blessing) and turned the oxytocin completely off. By all reason, this should have almost immediately stopped the contractions – and of course that was the point. The decelerations only occurred during a contraction, so they wanted to give Sariah time to recover and get the heart rate back up.

But, in that blessing, Margie was promised that the delivery would go quickly and everything would be just fine. At the time the oxytocin was turned down, Margie was dilated between 4 and 5 centimeters and about 50% effaced. By all accounts and standard measurements of delivery, she had a ways to go.

With the oxytocin off, the nurse left, confident that we could all take a breather. But God had other plans. Within 2 minutes I noticed that Margie’s whole body position and dynamics began to change. She felt little more than some extra pressure because of the epidural, but I could sense something significant was happening. I watched her for 2 more minutes and knew for sure that she had just gone complete and was in full transition. She knew it too.

I quickly went out and got the nurse. Skeptically, she returned and checked Margie… only to discover that the baby was crowning. The doctor was just down the hall and within another 5 minutes, Margie was ready to push. And one solid push was all it took.

The doctor saw a contraction coming on and said, “Ok, Margie, you can push now.” Margie knew that Sariah could not last long in the birth canal and that she needed to get out quickly. During all of our children’s birth, I have been amazed and stood in total wonder at this stage of delivery. A powerful, glorious, eternal fire ignites in Margie’s eyes as the final, great effort of delivery comes. There is an incredible power of creation that comes over her, as she partners with the Creator of all things and breathe life into a helpless baby.

But, this delivery was unlike anything I had ever seen in Margie before. The look on her personage was indescribable. The power consuming her was tangible and made the air around her tingle with intensity. The light that entered her body shone from her face and radiated from her eyes. And it all was focused and channeled into bringing Sariah safely home.

Sariah did come safely home to us. Today, seven days after her delivery, Sariah and Margie are both healthy and strong – in fact, Margie is enjoying her best recovery yet.

My gratitude to God knows no bounds. I have, on many occasions, since that experience, reflected with tearful eyes, on the miracle that I witnessed. And if you had been with me in that hospital room… and seen the light and fire in Margie’s eyes… and felt the charge in the air as God granted life… and held that tiny, precious baby in your arms… then you, like me, would be compelled to exclaim that there is a God, and He does answer prayers.


There IS A God, And He DOES Answer Prayers – Part I

September 12, 2007

It was one of those things that you really don’t like to hear – didn’t want to hear.

The light in the small room was dimmed so that the ultrasound technician could see the screen better. With Margie lying on her back right next to the machine there was no way she could see the monitor. I guess the doctors got tired of women twisting their neck around to see what was going on, so they mounted a good sized TV on the wall where Margie could see everything the technician was seeing.

As a registered nurse, Margie knew what he was seeing before he handed over the bad news.

Marginal placenta previa.

Since Margie was only in her 20th week, the tech said that there was a good chance the placenta would move up as the baby grew and developed. Still, there was just as likely a chance that it would continue to slide down – which would mandate a c-section… an experience Margie did not want to have. The risks were even higher considering that one of her sisters had the same thing, and it DID move down and she DID have a c-section.

We came home that afternoon and sat all the children down to explain things to them. As a family, through previous experiences we had learned the power of prayer. So, we decided to include a sincere petition in all of our family and meal-time prayers that the Lord would help that slippery placenta move up and not down.

So, over the next 15 weeks adult voices and young voices and tiny little toddler voices rose to heaven eagerly pleading and begging the creator of Heaven and Earth to just help that placenta move up. Some of the children never quite got the name of it right – “Please help the macenas move” or “Please bless the bamestar to go away”.

Well, even if they didn’t get the request right, these 3 and 5 year old boys of ours got spirit of it all right. They love their momma with all their precious little hearts and they really, really wanted her to be healthy and strong and safe.

Most inspiring to me, was the unwavering and consistent faith of all 6 of our children (Mary, our seventh, is still a wee too young to talk, but I’m sure she has great faith too!). In every prayer, in every situation, they ALWAYS remembered to ask God to help their dear momma.

The day of the second ultrasound came and found our family kneeling in the front room with me, once again, lifting my voice to Heavenly Father. Please, please, bless my dear wife and the wonderful mother of these sweet children.

We returned from that visit with hearts lifted and souls satisfied. God had heard our prayers and, at least for the time being, all was well with Margie and the baby – the placenta had moved.

Now, some may say that it was coincidence, it would have moved all on its own. Maybe. But if you had been there and heard those tender voices and heard the love they have for their mother… and if you had been in our home on the day that we returned from the second visit to the ultrasound tech and seen the sublime joy and happiness in their eyes as we told them the placenta had moved… and if you had felt the intense feelings of peace that came over all of us BEFORE we went to the doctor… then, I bet, like us, you would be compelled to acknowledge that there is a God, and He does answer prayers.

There is a wonderful – though scary and nerve wracking – sequel to this story and how Sariah Marjorie Boswell came to our home….


A Peaceful Farewell Born of Confidence

July 19, 2007

The red rock and sands of the Kanab, UT valley crunched under the van tires as I gave three short honks of the horn.Margie’s window was rolled down so that she could both extend her arm out toward our daughter Esther and be heard as she called out a final farewell.

It would be almost a full week before we could hold, interact, and enjoy our oldest child. For some, 6 days does not seem that long, but for us, it felt like we were losing a part of us as we drove away leaving her standing in our sister’s driveway. At just 10 years old, this would be the first time she spent more than a day or two away from home.

The three honks have become a tradition for us whenever Margie or I go anywhere. It represents the kind phrase, “I love you” and leaves a lasting impression in our minds of the love we have for each other.

As we drove away, I did a quick self-check of my emotions. “What am I feeling right now?” I wondered to myself. Anxiety, fear, relief, sorrow, happiness? What?

Peace. That’s the first thing that hit me. “I’m feeling peaceful.”

I lingered on that thought. Why was I feeling peaceful at letting my 10 year old daughter go down to Mesa, AZ for 6 days for a summer camp where she would be exploring remote caves in the Red Mountains02, learning to water ski on large reservoirs, hiking rattlesnake infested desert trails, and doing service projects outside in the blistering 104 degree summer heat?

On the surface, it did not make sense… but a quick look at my dear Margie told me she was feeling the same thing.

Why?

I thought about that during the 4.3 hour drive home and discussed it with Margie.

Confidence – that was the source of our peaceful feelings.

It was a confidence born of daily routines in our life that have instilled in our daughter a solid knowledge of right and wrong. More than that, this young girl was proven in converting information into wisdom and keeping her head about her in difficult situations. And while she is pure in heart and mind, she is by no means naive. She knows that evil and dangers are lurking out there in the big, wide world, but her faith in an all-powerful God allows her to face it with unwavering courage.

In our journey toward the “Land of Family Greatness”, we have discovered that a simple daily routine filled with some essentials – not just good things – is making all the difference in how our children face the world.

Here is what our morning looks like each day. I’ll give it to you with very little commentary and leave it to you to see if there is value in this:

  • 6:00 am – wake up, get morning outdoor chores done (around here this includes milking the goats and getting feed for the goats, chickens, and horses.)
  • 6:30 am – breakfast
  • 7:00 am – Family scripture and prayer time. This is not just reading a few verses and call it good… this is typically a pretty in-depth discussion (sometimes we get hung up on half a verse, spending 30 or 40 minutes applying it to our lives… VERY rewarding)
  • 7:45 am – morning indoor chores (this is basically cleaning the kitchen and house – they’ve each got their areas of stewardship and it goes pretty smooth)

In the summer, the rest of the day includes a wide range of activities and during the school year they are off to school.

Now, here is what happens every night…

  • 7:30 pm – get the PJ’s on and head down to bed.
  • 8:00 pm – tuck everyone in and spend a few minutes with each child. “What was the best part of your day? What did you learn? How did (fill in the blank) go for you today?” etc… If I’m not too tired, I let them pick a song and I sing them each something – usually a hymn, but sometimes a funny song that gets everyone laughing…
  • 8:30 pm – “Zip the lip” time – everyone is quiet now, but me. I lay down in the hallway and read to them. First, I take 10-15 minutes and read a scripture story or something else morally and spiritually meaningful to them. Often, I’ll ask questions and we briefly discuss it. Then, it is time for a novel. Over the years, during those evening reading sessions, we have enjoyed books like, “Swiss Family Robinson”, “The Secret Garden”, all 12 of the Elsie Dinsmore books, “Five Little Peppers”, all 7 Chronicles of Narnia, “Robin Hood”, and many others. What a joy this has been… and what a treasure of wealth we have acquired from these classics!
  • 9:30 pm – One final drink of water, a good night kiss, and lights out.

Peace – that is what we felt in sending our 10 year old off into the big, wide world for the first time.


They’re Raising Greatness In Me

July 18, 2007

I only remotely heard my youngest son (that’s Brigham, he’s 3yrs) come in the first time.

Faintly, through a fog of deep and very heavy sleep, I heard a little voice saying, “Mommy, I had a bad dream.” Actually, he doesn’t know what that means, but it is just as good of an excuse as any to come into our room at 2:03 am in the morning.

“Did you say a prayer?”, I heard Margie mumble.

“No”

“Ok, let’s say a prayer. Heavenly Father will help you sleep good.”

Then in quiet, sweet tones a simple prayer was offered and then little feet pitter-paddering out of our room and back down the hall.

I knew what was coming next, but hoped against hope that it wasn’t going to happen.

But, it was no use. Just as I was dipping back into my deep slumber, I heard those tiny feet sliding across soft carpet down the dark hallway.

You see, of all the lovely things we have taught our 3 year old, tucking himself in bed in the middle of the night is not one of them.

“Daddy, my bed is messed up. Will you help me?”

Knowing there was no use in fighting it, I rolled out of bed, making a mental note to myself to have that lesson on “tucking yourself in bed” first thing tomorrow morning.

As I reached out into the darkness for my son, I felt a precious, trusting hand already stretched out waiting… expecting… me to reach out to him. There was something in his simple and unwavering confidence in that act of reaching out to me that sent a thrill of excitement and pleasure through my whole frame.

“He believes in me! My boy, believes in me”, was the thought that flashed through my mind.

In a minute, I had him snugly tucked back in bed and before I got to the bedroom door he was sound asleep.

“I love you, Brigham”, I whispered softly into the night.

I couldn’t help but linger in the doorway a little longer. There was something magical about the glow of the soft night light as it gently illuminated his cubby cheeks and pure features. Enormous swells of love, and compassion, and care swept over me as I looked on.

I thought to myself, “I bet, in a way, this is how Heavenly Father must feel about us. He must thrill when we approach him. He must rejoice when we plead for help. He surely is elated when He can serve, bless and comfort us.”

And then another thought came to me. I realized that in raising this boy to the great man that he would someday become, he and God were working on raising me to greatness as well.

In that brief encounter with my son at 2:03 am, I had overcome impatience, my selfish desire for sleep, my frustrations at his inabilities, and petty thoughts of “why doesn’t Margie get up with him.”

Simultaneously, my patience, compassion, care, and love had deepened. In short, I had become a better man, father, and husband because my 3 year old son had a “bad dream” and reached out to his daddy for comfort.

As parents, while we raise these children to become great future men and women, we should never forget that they are in cohorts with God to raise greatness in us.

Is this family thing an amazing plan, or what?