Will you help me? I want to raise generous children -- and not just at Christmas. I want to raise children who think more of others than of themselves all the time and all year long. I want to raise children who are not selfish or entitled. I want to raise children who pitch in and help out, who volunteer when asked – and even when they are not asked. I want to raise generous children. And not just at Christmas.
When we lived in Cape Girardeau, MO we had an unfinished basement. I mentioned to a guy I knew that I wanted to finish the basement. I said it in passing. One week later there were eight good old boys from Southeast Missouri tromping down the side yard of our house to the basement door. They had hammers in hand, tool belts, and tape measures. They had lips bursting with chewing tobacco and a steely look of determination. These men were here to help. They stormed through the door like men on a mission. It’s what men do.
Indeed. Men help men. Men help men build basements. Men help men build their families. It’s what men do.
The basement turned out beautiful. These men took pride in their work and teaching me to do what I didn’t know how to do. They mentored me. They invested in me. They reminded me that the basement I was building was for my family.
I hate chewing tobacco. I haven’t tried it since. But I love those men. They taught me about carpentry – something I knew nothing about. I didn’t know what I was doing and they didn’t care. They let me get in the way. They were there to help. They were generous.
Every one of us needs help. Every one of us needs the kind generosity of someone else pitching in and helping out. I need help. You need help, too. It’s not easy finishing a basement. It’s not easy being a Dad, either. Both are easier when we do it together.
We may not always know what we are doing. I don’t. I’m not a very good carpenter and I am not always a very good Dad either. I’m sometimes a little hard hearted and a little thinned skinned. I’m not always so generous. I don’t always put the needs of others before my own. Sometimes I’m just looking out for me. This is why I need you. This is why we need each other. I need someone to say, Hammer and Nails or not, this is for our families.
So make it a point to make a difference. You are a Dad. You are a GREAT DAD. I learn from you – and our children are learning from all of us. Put the needs of others before your own. Pitch in and help out – even without being asked. Be a generous Dad and your children will be generous like you.
Jeff Sippy, a Dad-In-Training, is the father of three young men and the husband of Cindy. He enjoys sailing every chance that he gets. He is the senior pastor at Redeemer Lutheran in Springfield, MO and can be reached for question or comment at firstname.lastname@example.org