I once had the opportunity to ask Dr. Michael J. Carmichael, a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon, to give me an overview of how the heart works. He explained, “The heart is primarily a muscle, which pumps blood through a network of blood vessels called arteries and veins. This flow is responsible for pressure in the vessels known as the blood pressure. If the pressure is too low, then the blood carrying oxygen and nutrients isn’t sufficiently distributed to the organs and, if sustained, the vital organs will fail and the person will die. If the blood pressure is too high, over time, it can cause excessive stress against the arterial walls, which leads to injury, rupture and resultant heart attack or stroke.”
My grandson James is four months old. I like to read the Bible to him, take walks with him around the yard, and sing to him. And every time I see him, I greet him the same way—by picking him up and saying, “Grandpa’s here!”
James doesn’t talk yet, so he can’t respond to me with words. If he’s wide awake, I can get him to smile or giggle. But I know that “Grandpa’s here” will have an important impact. It illustrates one of the best things dads and grandfathers can be for their kids and grandkids: present. I often say that the best present a dad can give to his child is to be present. Here’s how.
Have you ever been on a mission trip to a third world country? If so, you probably fed people. In third world countries, people crave basic needs, like food and water. When you meet people’s needs, you get their attention. So missionaries often reach people for Christ by providing food or medical help.
In our first-world culture, most people’s basic needs are already met. What people crave is higher on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: love and belonging. Family First’s mission is to reach people by meeting those needs, by providing parenting and relational truth that works. But according to the Pew Institute, many Millennials don’t think they need God.
My wife Susan is very creative in all aspects of her life, and that includes parenting our five children. There are times when I see her doing something creative with our kids and think, “I want to be a part of that!”
Many years ago, I watched Susan and our daughter Megan start trading a writing journal back and forth. After this went on for a few weeks, I noticed them laughing and talking more together. Pretty soon, Susan had these journals going with all of the kids. I felt left out of the fun and bonding so I took her idea and started journaling back and forth with our kids too! Of course, she didn’t mind, and maybe it was her plan all along to make it look so fun that I would practically beg to be a part of it, instead of telling me that I should do it.