2 And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.
3 And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee.
4 Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!
5 And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.
6 And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
In case you missed how that passage is related to parenting in general and parenting teens specifically (it's easy to miss), let me point out two specific parts of the story that are relevant to our message to fathers today:
1. "...stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him..." (vs 2)
2. ..." so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel." (vs 6)
As Ray likes to tell it, Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel because he was AVAILABLE. He stood at the gate and answered their questions. He was waiting for them to come through. He took the time. According to Ray, "Whoever is available to your children is the one who will win their hearts."
Ray has spent his entire parenting life standing by any gate in which he thought could win his children. Standing, playing, reading, talking, singing, encouraging, laughing, wrestling, teaching, training....by the gates in which he knew our children would pass. Giving his children what every child dreams of---a dad who is available.
In honor of my husband, and hopefully as an encouragement to many others today, I would like to demonstrate in pictures how a man can be the Absalom in his children's lives--and continually be available to them. Please bear with the pictures--Ray has been living like this for thirty years, so some of the photos are not the best, blog-winning quality; however, they are all heart-winning quality.
|The Teaching Gate: Day or Night, Summer or Winter--Ray can always be found teaching his children something--from the Bible, to math, to football, to life principles.|
|The museum or other family day gate: While we do not have a large or expensive home, vehicles, and furnishings, Ray has always believed in investing in shared experiences. Zoos, museums, shows, and movies have been the highlight of our family times.|
|The "some assembly required" gate: Puzzles, elaborate toys, and extensive games have never scared Ray away (unlike his wife, who really disikes those things!). He would always just sit down right in the midst of several small children and dig in.|
|The "lesson on a napkin" gate: Ray has been notorious for teaching the kids whatever they asked about on the spot--and often on a paper napkin, back of a church program, bank deposit ticket, etc.|
|The "daddy time" gate: Through the y ears, time with Daddy has had many titles---Malachi time, Bible Talk, Daddy Talk, devotions, read alouds, family worship, etc.|