We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give” – Winston Churchill
It has been my privilege to spend some time trying to encourage and challenge business leaders and pastors in our region. After presenting a recent program to a group of men there were two or three men lingering about as I put away my computer, projector, and resource materials. They enviably got around to sharing their stories about the “wasted time” they experienced in pursuing what the world defines as “success”. The regrets were many, but my encouragement to the men was to think about the time ahead that God has given each of us to impact others.
Reflecting upon my time with those business leaders I couldn’t help but appreciate how God re-directed my life while our twin sons were still young enough to value a special time with dad. It was the spring of 1981 when I had a life-threatening surgery with a six-week recovery period that gave me time to reflect on memory building moments with our sons. Through God’s Word and the wise counsel of godly men I learned how to be a dad who wasn’t just trying to be important but who was intentionally trying to do those things that were important and had eternal consequences. Praise God!
Each spring as I smell the wonderful fragrance of the blossoming flowers and see the beautiful sights surrounding various lakes and ponds, I can’t help but reflect on the days my boys and I enjoyed early season fishing.
The following story was one of the things that changed my life and dramatically impacted the time I ascribed to being a dad who would take the time to enjoy a day on the water with my sons.
It is said of Boswell, the famous biographer of Samuel Johnson, that he often referred to a special day in his childhood when his father took him fishing. The day was fixed in his adult mind, and he often reflected upon many of the things his father had taught him in the course of their fishing experience together. After having heard of that particular excursion so often, it occurred to someone much later to check the journal that Boswell’s father kept and determine what he had said about the fishing trip from the parental perspective. Turning to that date, the reader found only one sentence entered: “Gone fishing today with my son; a day wasted.”
Few have ever heard of Boswell’s father; many have heard of Boswell. But in spite of his relative obscurity, he must have managed to set a pace in his son’s life, which lasted for a lifetime and beyond. On one day alone he inlaid along the grain of his son’s life ideas that would mark him long into his adulthood. What he did not only touched a boy’s life, but it set in motion certain benefits that would affect the world of classical literature.
Too bad that Boswell’s father couldn’t appreciate the significance of a fishing trip and the pacesetting that was going on even while worms were being squeezed on to hooks. No day is ever wasted in the life of an effective father.
Hey, parent or grandparent. Plan now to have some special time of relaxing and enjoyment with your kids or grandkids. I would give a great deal to have just one day in the boat bass fishing with my busy guys. The many memories of our time together warms the chill that distance and time brings to the heart of a dad who misses the quality time with his children.
What plans are you making to enjoy your children through memory building moments? What are the hobbies, interests, or outdoor activities you can enjoy together as a family? Put something on the calendar today!