The Present Parent
I helped her stand. Most of her strength was gone, or at least enough of it, to keep her from getting around on her own. At 75, her body no longer did what she wished it could. And so I lifted my mom from her wheelchair and helped her settle in for a nap. Those ordinary tasks were frustrating reminders to her of what she could and couldn’t do near the end of her life.
As I sat next to her that afternoon, I reminded her that it wasn’t what she could or couldn’t do that was important. Her presence was enough. Her presence was needed. Her presence was valuable.
And so it is with us. I have been reminded that one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their child is their presence. In a culture that is dizzy with motion, ambition, information, opportunities, and entertainment, our homes need a parent’s presence more than anything.
Faithfulness isn’t just about what we do, but faithfulness is also about being fully alive where we are – at home.
In Mark 3:13-14, we read that Jesus called his disciples to come be with him before he would send them out for him.
“Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.”
Presence isn’t just about proximity; presence is about purpose. Jesus used his presence for the purpose of teaching, loving, preparing, nurturing, modeling, and then, sending. Jesus desired to be present with his disciples for the purpose of preparing his disciples.
Be a Present Parent!
As a parent, sometimes one of the toughest places to be faithfully and fully alive is at home. It’s easy to be in close proximity to family, but not be fully present with them or for them. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the gift of ourselves.
Present with our time.
Present with our attention.
Present with our affections.
Present with purpose.
In Psalm 90:12, the psalmist prayed, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” What is intended is not just a counting of days, but a desire to make the days count. Let us not miss the fleeting moments of our children first being with us before going out from us. May God give you the grace to be fully alive and fully present with your family. Your presence (on purpose) is enough. It’s needed, and it’s just that valuable.
Thanks for this great reminder, Patrick. It’s not simply being around one another, but being in each others’ lives with purpose that makes a difference.
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