Even when he was 18 months old (he’s now almost 3!) my son had a serious propensity toward guy stuff. He revs his tiny balled up hand like the throttle of my Suzuki Intruder 800 with a look in his eye that says, “one day, that motorcycle will be mine.” I always thought kids were supposed to halt in their tracks when they hear the Barney song? To Aaron, Barney is for wimps. The thing that gets his attention above all else are YouTube clips of Monster Jam trucks flipping and jumping. The other day when he got a hold of my Maglite, the “sprzed” noise coming from his mouth made it obvious that this was no flashlight, but a laser gun. In addition to boyish manliness, Aaron is also becoming quite a Bible scholar. One of his favorite phrases is “bee-ya bee-ya bee-ya… bobby”. We assume that “bee-ya” comes from the first two letters of a popular church nursery song, The B-I-B-L-E while “bobby” is his way of saying that last line of the song… Bible! An infatuation with motorcycles and an enjoyment for church songs are both great things, but unfortunately there’s not so great things surfacing in Aaron’s character. Months ago, while sitting in the Doctor’s office I was especially bothered by one of these not so great things.
It was ultrasound day. Of course I wanted to be a part of the 20 week milestone in the fetal development of our second child, and Kimberly thought it was good for Aaron to be there as well. So we head to the Doctor’s office for the big visit. As exciting as the ultrasound was for all of us, at least 45 minutes of the visit was Aaron and I, in the busy waiting room. I only had a couple options for keeping him content. The first was the “one toy” he was allowed to bring. You guessed it, he brought Grave Digger. This black and neon green, big tire truck was going to be my hero until we both realized that the carpeted waiting room was not ideal for truck playing. Everyone knows that a hard surface is required for maximum performance. Before I resorted to my only other option, it occurred to me that there was a window in the waiting room that would buy me some time. We stared out of the window and talked about every possible thing that a Daddy and baby boy could think. This lasted three minutes. Sitting and looking at magazines wouldn’t work, and for some reason his favorite nursery songs just didn’t have the usual calming effect. So I pulled out my only hope, my last ditch effort, my final option – Goldfish. His eyes lit up and then his mouth began to fill up. When he asked for more, I suggested that he swallow the ones he had. He disagreed with this suggestion and, as crumbs flew out of his mouth, he insisted that he have more while I permissively submitted to his demand. This continued for a couple minutes until his mouth and both fists were full. He walked away content at least for now.
While Aaron’s tummy was swollen from his snack, I swelled with pride for having successfully appeased this tot. Soon Kimberly finished and we headed home. Later my thoughts would bounce back to the situation in the waiting room and a picture sent back from the Medical Mission Team in Haiti-a photo of Mrs. Bass handing Haitian children one goldfish at a time- flashed through my recollection. Aaron’s actions and Phyllis’s photo have challenged me.
Challenge #1 – No doubt, for some of the kids in Haiti this was the first time they’ve experienced the taste of this baked, cheddar snack. Sadly, I can’t help but conclude that for one of those children a small cracker from a missionary lady may be the last morsel they eat before their life is claimed by disease, violence or starvation. What a contrast! In America we sit with our fists full of Goldfish while others around the world go lacking. Knowing that every material possession I have is from God, I in no way want to belittle the blessings we have for the sake of making a point, but too often I find myself, like Aaron, grasping for material things with the hope of finding contentment. Jesus told his followers In Luke 12:15 that a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses. May we as Christians fight the urge to gather stuff and concentrate on blessing others and worshiping God with the things He has given us.
Challenge #2 – Both Aaron’s good and bad habits were taught to him by his parents. I introduced him to motorcycles and monster trucks. Kimberly and I indirectly instructed him in the B-I-B-L-E when we made the choice to attend Gateway Church and put him in the nursery where he would be taught this song. As I look at the picture of the Haitian kids waiting patiently for their one Goldfish, I can’t help but to be ashamed of the incident in the waiting room and I accept full responsibility for Aaron’s greedy display. The wise father of Proverbs 4 accepted the same kind of responsibility when he said to his son, “I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble.” It is my hope that when Aaron leaves my house I can say those words with a clear conscience.