My wife came across this picture a couple of days ago looking through the stacks of old photos that have not yet made it to albums. It is a picture of my firstborn, Mickey, and me on the walk outside our first apartment in married student housing. I don’t even know who took it or how we got it. He could not have been more than five months old at the time. He couldn’t stand on his own, much less walk. He was still wearing those tiny little shoes that are made more for decoration than performance.
Tonight that same little boy will put on a pair of dress shoes two sizes bigger than mine and walk across a stage to receive his high school diploma. He’s a young man with what by all accounts appears to be a very bright future in front of him. He’s a much better student than I ever was. He’s a much stronger person probably than I have ever been. He is the one walking the little bitty feet in our circle of friends and family around with a strong hand and gentle voice.
As I look back to the day I graduated from high school (twenty-two years ago this week, if I recall correctly), I am keenly aware that this son of mine has a much clearer direction for his life than I did. I think his faith is stronger than mine was and his support structure broader. I think he’s better prepared for what the next stage of his life will bring than I was at that point.
Parenting is not a matter of trying to correct in ours the mistakes our parents made with us. I think my parents worked hard to encourage and enable me to go farther and make a better life for the next generation. I think that’s what we all want, isn’t it? To see our kids go farther and reach higher than we have?
You know how a kicker has a feel for the result when the ball leaves his foot? Or a basketball player seems to know the shot’s going to fall by the feel when it leaves his hand? It’s just a sense that it feels like he’s on target. I’m sure that archers are the same way. As the arrow leaves the bow he already has a feel for the accuracy of the shot. I was given some great advice long ago:
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.Psalm 127.4-5
I’m no archer. I’m not really an expert at anything. I just know that, as this arrow is leaving the bow, it feels like it’s on target. Yes, I’m a proud dad. I have many reasons to be so.
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