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Walking and Talking

I spent a full day this week in the sole company of my eldest son, Nick. It is something I don’t get to do often because 250 miles separate us geographically. He has a wife and a job, I have a wife, and four other children, two of whom still live at home. A business trip north combined with other circumstances to provide this rare opportunity and it is one I will treasure for a long time.

On our day together Nick cooked me breakfast. We then spent most of the morning walking and talking. We walked North Bay and South Bay and up through the centre of Scarborough where we stopped off in a cafe for refreshments. Then we walked across town to see the house that Nick and his wife Anna are purchasing. In the evening we enjoyed a Chinese takeaway meal and watched a movie together.

The Highlight of the Day

What blessed me the most apart from having breakfast cooked by my son? Without a doubt it was the time we spent talking during our morning walk. There are twenty-three years between us and I am now well into middle-age. Twenty-three years was a huge gap when Nick was growing up, and especially during his teenage years. Since then we have both grown spiritually and in our hunger to be men of God.

During our walk we communicated man-to-man as we shared different aspects of our faith journeys and how God has worked in our lives. We looked at the past, and we considered the future. We could not have shared like this when Nick was a child, or when he was a teenager.

Then I consider my relationship with my own father. It wasn’t all that good during my childhood. One memory that stands out was when Dad took a day off work and we made a boat trip across from Guernsey to Sark. I was ten years old. What an adventure. We hired bicycles and spent the day exploring the lanes and tracks. Why do I so clearly remember one day from forty-five years ago? Because my father took a day off to spend time with me. The memory of that day remains one of my most valued possessions.

The Gift of Time

Solomon gives much instruction about listening to parental advice and wisdom (see Proverbial Thought). The truth is that most children choose not to heed such advice while they are young (Proverbs 4:1-2 and 3-4). I don’t remember much of the wisdom my father tried to impart. What I do remember is that day in Sark when my Dad gave me his time, time I knew he didn’t have to give. In our modern society time is a scarce resource, but we desperately need to make the investment of time. The challenge is not just to parents and children, but to husbands and wives, and indeed to siblings. But more important still is that we invest in spending time with our Heavenly Father, who waits to receive the gift of our time, so that He may enrich us with His.

Listen

Father and Son – Cat Stevens

Cat’s in the Cradle – Harry Chapin

Father, Son – Gabriel

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