The churches in Johns Creek are in the heart of the only part of summer that I didn’t much care for as a kid – the annual Vacation Bible School season. Some churches around town have already made it through VBS, others are about to start. But I promise you, within each class there is at least one kid who doesn’t understand why he’s there.
It’s not that I really minded going to church as a kid. Like most kids, I was fairly apathetic about the whole thing. It was no big deal to give up an hour for Sunday School and an hour for services each Sunday, though I didn’t mind when we occasionally missed. But Vacation Bible School? That was different.
I guess it was the idea of finally getting a nice long break from school, only to be forced to turn right around and go back for a week. Of course, we all did it because that’s what we were expected to do – and sometimes you have to do what’s expected of you whether you really like it or not.
Still, I never fully understood the need. What’s more, I didn’t understand what a lot of the activities had to do with the Bible. Take, for example, some of the arts and crafts. I remember making a cat from a Dr. Pepper bottle and a Styrofoam ball. I painted it, glued on some ears and – voilà – it was a cat.
Pretty dull stuff for a little boy who liked dogs.
But that stupid Dr. Pepper bottle cat stayed perched on my mom’s piano forever – she just would not get rid of it. To her it was more precious than gold.
I have to admit, I did learn to recite the Books of the Bible one year. Of course, outside of attending the seminary, there’s not much call for that skill as an entry on a résumé.
I think what I came away with, after years of VBS weeks, were early lessons about discipline and “seeing it through” that was the foundation for even more lessons concerning responsibility in the years that followed.
Fatherhood is about responsibility. It’s also about love.
Often, we give up our free time in exchange for something that’s important to our kids. We might not fully understand the “need” for the activity, but we still do it out of a sense of responsibility – and because we love them. Then, magically, that “free time” we gave away turns into something more precious than gold.
Being a father isn’t always easy, convenient or fun. Sometimes it’s downright hard. But we push on out of that sense of responsibility and because we love them – and end up with a Dr. Pepper bottle cat on the piano that we wouldn’t trade for love or money.