I spend hours each week on the telephone interacting with people in the Christian Music industry. It’s just one of the parts of my job as music director that I am completely in love with. When I first took the position I thought these calls would be tedious and phony interactions. What I found instead are warm, loving people with whom I am fortunate to have a strong personal relationship. These people carried much of my burden as I walked with my daughter in the final days of her life. Much of our time on the phone is spent catching up on life and learning from one another. Yesterday I had a beautiful conversation with a lovely woman, Katie, who is pregnant with her first child. The conversation began with how great her baby bump looks on social media and quickly turned to talk of children and parenting.
As we were chatting about parenting styles, Katie shared something with me that took me by surprise and reminded me of the power we have as parents to shape these little lives we have been entrusted with. Katie said she clearly remembered talking to her mother when she was 4 years old* about a boy she had a crush on in school. Her mother’s response was negative. So negative that Katie told me she never wanted to talk to her mother about her personal life again. Can you imagine! I’m sure Katie’s mom didn’t really think about her reaction at the time. I remember my own daughter sharing about her childhood crushes and I just thought, “Why on earth would you like that stinky boy?” But I never thought my reaction would have an effect on my children opening up to me about what was going on in their life.
When I hung up the phone I couldn’t stop thinking about that conversation. As a father who has already been through the process of raising my children I can tell you more about the things I did wrong than what I did right. If you are the parent of a young child I will tell you right now you will screw up, and that is totally fine! If you have been around this parenting thing for a while, just when you think you have the hang of it BAM, you will mess up again. So I’m not saying I have some great parenting advice for anyone. But I will say that my kids turned out great! Maddy was a fighter and showed me how to live life with abandon. Ethan is a hard working young man who is determined to take life by the horns and love the people around him like there is no tomorrow.
In light of my conversation with Katie I will tell you one thing I am happy that I got right. I listened to my children. I made a conscious effort to get down on their level and look them in the eye when they spoke to me. I worked hard at not getting a look of exasperation on my face every time they told me the same story for the 100th time. I reminded myself that in their tiny lives tiny things look very BIG. I will confess that these actions did not come naturally to me. I had to work at it every day. Some days were better than others but now that I’m on the other side I can see how that hard work paid off. Here is what I told Katie on the phone that day: You got this! That is my encouragement to you too!
Read more from Davis here!
*Editor's Correction: Katie was in 4th grade, not 4-years-old. Also, she wasn't talking to her mom about a boy. She had expressed her interest in joining the circus as a trapeez artist. I kid. I kid. But seriously, she was like, 10.