Janet, Andrew, Kristin and I just returned from dinner at the Club this evening. Jill left several days ago or I am sure that she would have joined us as well. Sometimes it’s nice to just have the nuclear family present without all the kids, friends and others who are sometimes involved. And it has been a joy to have Jill here for the past week or more and spend time with her as well – since she lives in Oklahoma we don’t see her nearly as often as we would like, but her life is out there and it’s just one of those things that we all deal with.
We happened to have a new server this evening – someone who has only been working at the Club a short time and we have been there pretty close to 25 years now I’m sure. In fact, we have been members through two separate renovations of the place and while we were at dinner this evening, I was thinking about all the years gone by and the changes in the staff during the years that we have been members. We have seen at least three General Managers come and go and our kids have grown up with the some of the same servers since they were very young. Edith, one of our favorites, just retired and has known Andrew since he was 5 years old – as did her husband Mike.
Those years gone by were special times for all of us and some of the people who used to work our banquets back when I had our company are still assisting us when we host out of town guests now. The point is that the whole dinner experience was a little surreal for me. That seems to be happening a little more frequently recently. On Aug. 24th, Janet and I will celebrate 40 years of marriage and for some reason, I have been dreaming lately about all different kinds of events that have happened since that Friday evening so long ago that we each said, “I do.”
For quite a number of years when the kids were teenagers, Janet and I ate dinner at the Club every Friday evening at 7:00 pm. I would head home from the office, pick up Janet and then go right over to a table that we reserved each week. We had a standing invitation in the family that any of the children could join us if they let us know by Friday afternoon. No friends, just immediate family. And for many years one or more of them would come to dinner and just talk family stuff. Then, as they grew older, they would leave the club and go about their own lives later in the evening. Janet and I look back on those days with fondness. It’s been quite some time since we have had those open invitation dinners, although we also had dinner with Jill at the Club during her recent visit here.
It seems to be at times like this that I reflect back on my run as a father. I know there were many things that I could have done better. But when I look at our three children, I really think that they turned out just fine. None of them had drug issues, or failed school or got arrested (at least that I know of) or had to deal with so many of the issues that other families have to address. I know that I tend to be a perfectionist and that the kids think that I was overly stern or controlling at times, but those are things that I can try to work on for the rest of my life – I’m certainly not perfect.
None of the children would question my love for them although I am sure that they could argue with my delivery from time to time. And when any of them are in trouble, or need help, they know that they can pick up the phone and I’ll try to take care of whatever the issue is. In fact, I know that there have been times when Kristin, Jill and Andrew are just trying to tell me stuff and I immediately jump into “fix it” mode.
I’m sure that time will tell how I get judged as a parent. Janet has done a great job as a mother – there’s no denying that we are on the same page but have very different styles as parents. We balance one another and, hopefully, our combined effort has paid off for our children. The verse for this evening has to do with the requirements to be a pastor that are outlined by Paul in the book of 1 Timothy. After all, after leaving the corporate world, I spent a number of years in seminary, thinking I would end up a pastor. Apparently, that hasn’t happened yet, so who knows. I guess I always wondered how I would stack up under the scrutiny of the church. We are told, in 1 Tim. 3:4-5, “He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)”
My encouragement this evening is to continue to mentor your children, no matter how old they are. And my prayer is that your children will continue to grow and represent the kingdom of God in the world. After all, we need all the ambassadors for Christ that we can find. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…