We’ve all been there.
There are a million and three kids. Parents are everywhere. The air is filled with the smell of stinky feet. Your ears are ringing because of the constant scream.
The indoor playground is this place.
If you haven’t had the privilege of going to an indoor playground, they’re great! Kinda…
At our most recent visit to the indoor playground it was insane as ever. Our family had never been to this one before.
We got there as soon as it opened and we were one of the first people into the indoor playground. For the first 10 minutes there were only a few kids playing and parents sitting scrolling their Facebook while peaking up every so often to locate their kid.
But then all of a sudden there were, what felt like, 200 kids and parents in this indoor playground.
It was absolute chaos!
We have two daughters, so my wife was with the Kollyns and I was with Shiloh.
Once Shiloh learned her way around the playground, she was off to the races. Running around, jumping, screaming, sliding - doing all the things.
Well at one point, in the hustle and bustle of all the kids, I didn’t have eyes on Shiloh. I knew she was in the room and I know I didn’t hear her screaming like she was hurt. However, I could see her.
So, my heart drops even though I know she’s there, and I begin shout her name. I continue to look for her as I do this. Then I started to feel it. You know, the feeling that a bunch of eyes are on you and you’re getting judged. We’ve all been there too.
Instead of continuing to say Shiloh’s name pretty loud in hopes to locate her, I just started to say it just above a normal volume.
Within a couple of times Shiloh heard me saying her name, walked to the edge of the top level of the playground, and looked at me and said, “Daddy, here I am.”
From that moment the Spirit brought to mind a passage of Scripture where, Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me.”
I want to apply this story to our personal relationship as parents with our Heavenly Father, and then I want to apply it to our relationships with our kids that He has given us.
If you’re a follower of Jesus, He knows us and is gently saying our name all day long. In every situation at home, work, with family, alone, with strangers He is calling us.
The question is, are we listening for His voice in every situation? When I walk into the house, am I trying to listen for God’s voice? When I walk into the office, am I trying to listen for God’s calling?
Our Heavenly Father knows us, and as His sheep we do know His voice, but the key is, “they follow me.” The sheep follow the shepherds voice they know. Our we following the voice of our Heavenly Father?
Now for our relationship with our children. I believe, each child the Lord has given us, has been given to us on purpose. You’re the exact parent that your child needs. Your child needs you.
I believe that each parent is the primary disciple maker of their children. This is not the responsibility of the church, this is our responsibility as parents. Yes, the church can and will help, but it’s our responsibility as parents.
When I was screaming Shiloh’s name, trying to locate her, my voice was just getting lost in the noise. It was getting lost with all the other screaming kids or parents looking for their kid.
But when I stopped and started speaking with gentleness, my voice was different yet recognizable.
Our kids (sheep) know our voice (shepherd). This means what we say matters. The words and temperament we use as parents have a life long impact on them.
Because of this, we as parents must be keenly aware of our influence with our children.
So in these years, it’s crucial we speak to them so they know our voice and one day will follow Jesus along with us.