In the early days of our parenthood, it sometimes seemed that life would go on forever as it was going then. We’d never have any money, we’d never have a child who was old enough to babysit, we’d never have air conditioning. I was so tense as a young man that I made life harder for myself and those around me.
I’ve heard Marilyn say that when she had three children, life was tougher than it was with eight because when she had only three, there were no big helpers. Two were in diapers, and Rickey was a bundle of energy. Now, of course, we have some good help trained and that is a blessing, but the extra needs of the family are felt, too. It takes a tremendous expenditure of time, finances and effort to do what we do.
But by now we know that it won’t always be this way. There may be tougher times with a sick child or persecution such as when we were in court over home education. And there will almost certainly be easier times, too, when more of our children are mature teens and ready to carry their own weight and somebody else’s, too. All we know for sure is that everything that comes to pass, passes.
In an airport recently I happened to see the final seconds of a televised basketball game. Because our family doesn’t have TV at home, it isn’t often that I see the mass hysteria that accompanies a close athletic contest. This particular game was a cliffhanger and the crowd was frantic as the seconds ticked off the clock and the buzzer sounded the climax. Then the field house erupted with noise as the clock decided the hard-fought contest. The fans were on their feet screaming, and the cheerleaders were leaping and doing handsprings at the edge of the court.
I remarked to Marilyn later what strange creatures we humans are. Two teams of five men each, selected from the best of the best and prepared by thousands of hours of training, throw an air-filled ball around a gym and through a net hanging from a metal hoop. All the while, thousands look on as though the fate of the world was being decided on the polished hardwood floor in front of them. We do love our play.
I have no quarrel with those who like to play. I like to play myself, and when work permits I’m always ready for a good time. Nobody denies that there is time in a Christian’s life for rest and recreation. Still, it seems that we’ve overdone it a bit. Isn’t there something wrong with a society in which professional game-players are worshiped while accomplishments of eternal importance go unnoticed?
As a parent advocate, I’d like to see more cheering for parents. I think what moms and dads do is worthy of some applause. In fact, a whole lot of applause. After all, which is more important—throwing balls through hoops or forming little souls who will live forever? Where are the cheerleaders who do handsprings when a frazzled young mom puts her preferred activity on the back burner for the umpteenth time in a day in order to read a story to a three-year-old child?
Who’s waving the pom-poms for the dad who works long hours at a job that’s not all that much fun, in order to provide a home for his wife and little ones? Not to deny the hard work and sacrifice it takes to excel at sports, but what group is more important and less appreciated than parents?