There’s something beautiful about getting up before the sun. The world is quiet and everything seems to be at peace. When I was twelve there was no way you could wake me up before the sun. I loved my sleep. None of the antics my brother could pull would rouse me from my slumber on a normal weekend, but this weekend was different.
Dad was taking us on an adventure.
We piled into our Pontiac minivan and hit the road. My brother was back asleep within seconds of the car engine starting, but I was wide-awake. There was no way I could calm down enough to snooze. This was an adventure and for a day I got to be a man and I wasn’t going to miss a minute of it.
Before we hit the freeway we decided, Dad and I, to fuel up for the road ahead. Dad grabbed a Coke and I nursed a hot chocolate the size of my stomach. I’m sure the breakfast would have been more nutritious had mom been there, but she wasn’t. No, this was man time, time filled with early mornings and sugary breakfast, time I got to spend with my dad.
We piled back into the van and headed toward Los Angeles. It was still dark out and I imagined where everyone was going so early on a Sunday.
My dad and I began to talk about manly things, you know like baseball and girls and how to avoid eating your vegetables. It was a glorious morning. Right there, copiloting the minivan, I knew that my dad loved me and that he had my back.
As we pulled into our destination the sun was just beginning to rise. I’d never seen so many people up so early. My brother woke and we found a place to park. “Alright,” Dad said, “stick close to me. I don’t want to lose you.” We careened our way through the crowds and dad gave me my ticked. Embossed on it were the words Nissan Open at Riviera Country Club.
That day a young golfer watched some of his heroes—guys like Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson, and Mike Weir tee it up and play the gentleman’s game. I’d grown up watching these guys on TV and there they were, but a ropes distance away. I’d modeled my swing after Donald and looked up to Mickelson and Weir as lefties.
But as much as I looked up to those men in their golf game, I looked up even more to the man who took me to see them play.
I’m a firm believer that things are more caught than taught. This applies especially to the parent-child relationship. Growing up, my folks often shared the importance of spending time with God each day. They stressed this whenever they could; however, as effective as repetition is (and I believe it quite important to remind your children again and again that I life lived for God is worth it) it is even more impactful to witness lives that model the message that is preached.
You see, I knew that my parents had a deep relationship with God because they didn’t just talk about the importance of putting Him first, but I watched them do it. Every morning I’d see my dad on the same couch with his Bible on his lap and a notebook and pen to his left. He’d read through the day’s Proverb as well as whatever else he was reading in God’s Word, writing things that were impactful in the spiral notebook. I’d walk from the living room to the family room and find my mom sitting by the fire with an afghan spread across her legs as she too spent time at the feet of Jesus. At night we would pray as a family and as I’d lie in bed I’d often hear my parents praying for me.
My folks weren’t perfect, but through their words and, more importantly, their actions, they guided me to the God who is perfect. They could have had their ‘quiet time’ in their bedroom or somewhere private, but they chose to do so in a place where my brother and I would see.
I’m still not much of a morning person, but most mornings I get up, sit at a couch in my apartment, open my Bible to the Proverb of the day and whatever book I’m currently reading, and take notes and journal prayers in my own notebook. I’ve learned the importance of recognizing that I’m a part of God’s world and I need to lean into Him.
How? Because I had parents who knew that some things need to be caught.