Faith of our fathers

Published 4:49 am Saturday, January 5, 2019

Children bring satisfaction and joy, no matter what their age. When I look into the eyes of my precious ones I see so much more than a wonderful grown person smiling back at me. I see the tiny infant bundled in a blanket snuggling close in my young mother’s arms. I can still feel the wonder and amazement at the miracle of new life and marvel at God’s perfect plan for creating a family.

I remember joyful first steps and the mad dash to childproof a home from those curious ever reaching little fingers. I see a smiling little face so proud of his accomplishment as he stands in the midst of sheet music scattering the floor. He was finally able to reach the piano, and his face held so much delight that I couldn’t scold.

We had several trips to the emergency room over the years as accidents do happen. Our middle child loved to invent things and figured out a way to turn his light out by pulling on a string he had rigged up so he wouldn’t have to get out of bed. It worked out a few times, but something came loose and hit him square in the eye doing a considerable amount of damage. Everything worked out in the end, but only after daily trips to a specialist. What a relief when that was all over!

Those accidents were pretty tough, but worse than physical injury was when their tender hearts were hurt by the inevitable thoughtless or unkind words of others. We taught them to react with kindness and respect to bad behavior, but we all know that treating others as we want to be treated is hard to do.

As our children grew, their father and I tried to instill our values into them both by example and through teachable moments. The many, many bedtime prayers and nightly Bible stories that were a part of their childhood paid off huge dividends. Each of them embrace and rely on the faith of their youth, and the parents are passing it on to their children. I’m so proud of all of their accomplishments, but only one child lives close enough to see very often. My mother’s heart still wants to have a positive effect on their lives, and sometimes I feel that this isn’t possible since they live so far away.

Just this week, I read a book by Dr. James Dobson which told of the example of his father and what an impact it had on his life. In the book he shares the many generations of believers that he traces back to one of his forefathers and his diligent prayers for his family. I was challenged and encouraged by what I read in Dr. Dobson’s book. It helped me to realize that though the important formative years of my own children have passed I can still have a profound impact on their future.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at