Bright Lights

A police officer fingerprinted my eight-year-old son this past summer.


Our children were in Lincoln last week for “Bright Lights,” a five-day summer school adventure. Aidan took a class on “Crime Scene Investigation” in which he learned how to collect clues, decipher codes, and keep a journal of observations. One day a policeman visited his class and taught him how to collect his own fingerprint.


The last thirty minutes of the final day is the “class presentation.” Parents join their kids in the classroom and their child walks them through all his projects from the week. With three children and only two parents, Jamie and I had to come up with a plan for supporting each of our children. We decided that Jamie would go to our daughters’ presentations and I’d go to Aidan’s.


Then I got a flat tire. I had run over a sharp piece of metal on the way to the school. When I’d parked the truck, I noticed a hissing noise coming from my right rear tire. Jamie went on to the girls’ program and I raced to a nearby auto repair shop.


The program began at 11:30, and I walked into Aidan’s room at 11:35. I’ll never forget the scene, or the look on his face. A room full of fathers and sons—each dad was sitting at a desk as his son excitedly exhibited one project after another—and there was Aidan, in the middle, standing by an empty desk. His eyes, giant blue bright lights, were fixed on the door, wide and anxious.


It doesn’t matter how old you are, feeling lonely is not fun; especially when it’s your dad’s presence you’re missing. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Matthew 28:18-20. Jesus commissions His disciples, and then promises that they’ll never be alone. He says, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


“I am with you always.” That God loves to be with His children and promises to never leave them is one of the strongest themes in the Scriptures. He made this promise to Joshua before His people moved into the Promise Land (Joshua 1:5). He made this promise to Israel through the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 43:2a). At the very end of the Bible, in Revelation 21:3, we’re given a picture of eternity, and one of the main aspects of the picture is that God will be with us: “He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”


When I walked through the classroom door, Aidan lit up inside. My presence with him meant EVERYTHING to him. I could see it in his eyes. It’s hard to explain the feeling, but it brought me such pleasure to know that by walking into the room and sitting next to my son took him from anxiety and longing to pleasure and relief.


What an awesome responsibility we have as moms and dads to teach our children about the power of the presence of a parent. I love it that one of God’s strategies for teaching us how to delight in the presence of Him as our Father is by giving us parents that will show up and enjoy being with us.


Moms & Dads: have you had any memorable moments with your children lately? Do your kids have a special way of showing you that their glad you’re with them?