Perspectives by Rev. Clarence Witten


Time for Our Kids

I’m glad I was warned. From the moment we had our first child, friends told us that we’d better make the most of the days our children would be home, for those days fly by all too quickly. How true. 

Our oldest child is applying for universities and will soon be moving on and (presumably) moving out. Our second child isn’t far behind. Wow. Childhood is as brief as they say.

It reminds me of a story about author Arthur Gordon that I heard and that has also helped me over the years. Here’s what he wrote: “When I was around 13 and my brother was 10, Father promised to take us to the circus. But at lunch there was a phone call. Some urgent business required his attention downtown. My brother and I braced ourselves for the disappointment. Then we heard him say, “No, I won’t be down. It will have to wait.” When he came back to the table, Mother smiled and said, “The circus keeps coming back, you know.” “I know,” said Father, “but childhood doesn’t.””

Obviously, Arthur Gordon’s dad was sensitive to how fast children grow up. But more importantly he understood two things. He knew that his kids were to be his priority for those short years that they’re home.

I don’t know anything about Gordon’s dad, what he did for a living, how busy a man he was, but he knew that more important than his work or anything else were his kids. Smart man he.

The other thing that Arthur Gordon’s dad understood that’s so important is that being a good parent takes sacrifice. He was willing to sacrifice work, maybe even some income for the well-being of his kids. 

There’s no way around the fact that good parenting takes sacrifices. It may be work or income. It may be having all the toys or hanging around with the boys. 

There are simply too many demands on our time so the only way our kids will get the love and nurture they need is if we’re willing to let stuff go.

As I look around South Dundas, I’m convinced that many families get what Arthur Gordon’s dad got. The importance of family. The importance of parents having loving and close relationships with their kids. I see it all around my neighbourhood. You see it at the hockey arena or soccer field. 

We’re a community that places high value on family, on children, on parenting. It makes for a great place to live.

Yet it breaks my heart to see that this isn’t always the case. It’s painful to see kids not loved as they ought to be, or neglected or worse. It’s sad to see parents too busy with their own lives. Not making their kids their priority; not making the sacrifices called for.

Children are precious. Our love, affirmation, and encouragement affects them for their entire lives. How we raise them and what we teach them will even affect them for eternity, for the life hereafter. 

Let me close with a quote from another author, Lisa Wingate: “Your children are the greatest gift God will give to you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands. Take time with them, teach them to have faith in God. Be a person in whom they can have faith. When you are old, nothing else you’ve done will have mattered as much.”

Pastor Clarence Witten

Community Christian 

Reformed Church

Dixon’s Corners

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