I’m not the best father. I’ve got plenty of issues I am working out. God is still shaping me to father like he fathers.
But I have been learning a pretty solid secret of fathering as of late.
Ready for it?
When you go somewhere, take your kids with you.
I know it’s a terribly simple concept, but it goes so far. I recently went to do some breakout sessions for the SC BCM Conference. While the trip might have been easier had I traveled alone, it was far more beneficial that I took my sons with me.
I pile two 4-year-olds in a minivan and travel for about 5 hours one way. That sounds real fun, doesn’t it? Actually, it was a blast.
Here’s what I learned:
- It creates memories. The boys thought it was the coolest thing to go down to the beach to go preaching with Dad. We talked about trucks we passed on the interstate and they had my full attention. We got to go to some restaurants at which they had never eaten. We picked up seashells. Eli stepped in the ocean in the freezing cold. They got to walk up flights of stairs when the elevators were down. It was awesome. The highlight for them was the sleeping arrangements. I walked into our hotel room and realized there was one king bed. Before I could call room service and switch rooms, the boys started jumping on the bed and screaming, “We all get to sleep in one bed! All the Agnew boys! Arrgh, arrgh, arrgh!” No switching then. I didn’t get too much sleep that week, but my boys walked away with some pretty special memories. They remember Dad crawling in between the two of them at nighttime and waking up at the beach together. When they woke up on Sunday morning, I had barely slept due to the elbows in my ribs and feet in my face. I said, “Obie and Eli, look at all this room on the other side of the bed. Why didn’t you sleep there instead of on top of Daddy?” Obie replied, “But Dad, I just wanted to snuggle.” I love being a dad.
- It ensures safeguards. Let’s face it, evil is out there and the appearance of evil is out there. When a minister travels, temptation can come in different forms, but also you have to flee from the appearance of evil. The best way to safeguard yourself is to travel with family. Some people may take this as extreme or worry about my holiness if this is a thought of mine. I have been around too many ministers who have gotten in trouble because they had no boundaries. Taking my sons along ensure built-in accountability.
- It models family. While it was fun, my weekend was more challenging. I had to deal with bathroom breaks and nap times. I had to get food trays and bring toys. I had to figure out how to teach and watch over my sons. But I realize this more and more – younger generations crave to be around a family. They don’t think it is uncool. They love it. College students want to hang out at our home and with my kids. They desire a family of their own one day and they love to watch how families interact and grow. While we are nowhere near perfect, one of my biggest ministries right now is letting people in our home and see our families up close. Taking family with you models what real family looks like.
The next time you go to Lowe’s or the grocer store, a business trip or ministry trip, ask yourself: who in my family could go with me?