Life Lessons as a Dad - Part 3 continued


In these "deep" philosophical and theological discussions with my kids, I would engage them in a "Socratic method" of teaching/learning. I would seek to share complex concepts in simple language and then ask them penetrating questions rather than impose predetermined answers on them. I would do this randomly as life
"happened" - when we rose, drove, ate, tucked them in bed, read, prayed, worked, went on family vacations, etc. This always worked better for us than traditional "family devotions." They would wrestle with puzzling questions about God, the universe and life. I made space for their responsive questions and sometimes surprisingly profound answers to emerge and rise in their hearts and minds. I would give them respect as fellow learners in ways that they could feel and appreciate it.

Terri would also engage with them in her own motherly style of training. It became normal for us to simply "fellowship" with our kids in the course of daily life together. We were regularly on the
lookout for the "teachable moments" of life when young hearts are especially open and tender - on the heels of a resolved conflict. This is typically an opportune learning moment for any person. We learn best when we are out of our comfort zones and we evaluate our experiences with others in a safe and loving environment.

There were times, like when we would be reading a captivating story (the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis and the Spirit Flyer series by John Bibee -who later became our good friend - were especially impacting. We also read Frank Peretti's novels to them as they got a little older.) that had spiritual lessons and metaphorical references
to Jesus and His kingdom, in which I would spontaneously and shamelessly weep in front of my kids because my heart was so moved upon. It is deeply impacting to people when their authority figures are sincerely vulnerable before them. We can't pay any sum of money for the kind of relational bond of love with our kids that results
from opening our hearts widely to the Spirit of God and them.

Michael Sullivant