The Job Description of a Child – Part 2

There comes a golden moment when you as a parent can step back and bask in the joy of having birthed and raised a helpful human being. When was that moment was for us? When Alexis began, on her own accord, without any prompting on our part, to voluntarily take care of her little brother Austin.

When Austin cried and didn’t stop, I would mutter to myself, as many fathers do, “Why is Austin crying?” I, of course, didn’t expect any rational answer back from this self-imposed quiz. Babies can’t tell us why they are crying. Some mothers have the ability to discern between the cries of hunger from the cries of poo from the cries of wee. I don’t possess that gift. So it came as a genuine surprise when once I muttered out loud, “Why is Austin crying?” and a clear, sharp voice of a three year old girl responded, “Austin’s crying because he’s poo-pooed in his nappy. We have to change him.” Uh…May be I should check his nappy. Thanks, 3 year old mum! And before I could get to the nappy drawer, Alexis’ little feet were scurrying across the carpet in our bedroom, they arrived at the chest of drawers where we keep nappies, and she pulled out all the right equipement: a cloth for him to lay on, wet baby wipes, and a fresh new nappy – the right one, too, not her size, but his size. What a delight to watch her grow up, and by that I mean, what a delight to see she volunteered to help.

The next golden moment in parenting came when we were on our way to church one day. Two babies strapped in their individual baby seats, Mama driving, and Papa going over his notes to preach on a weekend service. Inevitably there would be some noise from the back seats which would demand my attention. “Papa, can I have a drink?” is the usual one from Alexis. High-pitched squeaks of hunger from Austin meant he could no longer tolerate the 40 minute drive to church without milk. Well, one day there was silence…no noise. This gave me great peace for a while until I perturbed myself with the question, “Why is it unusually quiet back there?” Expecting to find a need I’d have to meet, I turned around to view the back seats, only to find baby Alexis feeding baby Austin with a milk bottle. I turned around to ask my wife, “Can she do that?” Now I think, “Is that even legal?” I mean, she was perfectly strapped in and all, but she was only 3 years old. But what I meant at the time was, “Can a 3 year old be so helpful?” She patiently held the baby milk bottle over Austin until he nearly finished the content. “Can a 3 year old be so responsible without being asked?” When your child proves that she can, it is an unforgettable moment. You thank God He made you a parent!

What are the landmarks in human maturity? Continue reading

The Job Description of a Child

We need clearly defined roles in every organization, whether private or public, business or non-profit. A church is no different. Whether a church grows or stagnates depends on everyone knowing “my job and your job”. Note carefully it’s not enough to know “my job” alone. If you don’t know what someone else’s job is, you might expect them to do something they’re not supposed to do or called or equipped to do; worse, you might be neglecting what you are supposed to do because you assumed someone else would do it. We’ve all heard this little story:

This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and
Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry because it was Everybody’s job.
Everybody thought Anybody could have done it, but
Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.
Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

One reason churches don’t grow is that Everybody is waiting for Somebody to do the job, and the person who ends up doing too much is the Pastor. An exhausted pastor is not the sign of a spiritual pastor or a healthy church. So what’s “my job, your job”? The model I adopt for the church is taken from our home. In my house, every member clearly has a role. Everybody, of course, should walk in love. That’s a given for a healthy climate. What is unique to each of our roles? I as a husband and father protect, provide, and lead. This is not anybody else’s job. This is my job.

What is my children’s job? Besides loving Papa, Mama and each other, they have an important role that’s summarized in one word: HELP. Continue reading