If you’re not familiar with this cliché – a beneficiary of a good deed is not required to pay “back” the gesture received, but is requested to pay the deed forward. Kind of like – do for others as it was done for you. If taken seriously, the act of kindness, whatever it is, could become perpetual and take on a life of its own showing generosity and kindness to countless individuals and possibly generations. A great concept, so you may ask, what does this have to do with being a dad? Let me explain.
Earlier this year my wife and I discussed and decided how we were going to “do life” as a family. Seemingly, unfortunate circumstances happened to us as it does all families. Instead of relenting to opposition, we relished in the possibility of opportunity. We were finally positioned to take the home schooling of our children, family travel plans, and business/ministry to an adventurous level. Part of the framework in our “do life” plan of fun and flexibility was for me to become employed in a manner that would allow us to develop our aspirations. As we executed our plan, I’ve found myself engaged in home life unlike I’ve ever had before in our nine years of raising children. It wasn’t a bad situation, just new.
What I discovered in the process was that my children, all six of them, needed me in a way that none of us could have articulated.
As I integrated myself into the daily life of my children, there was this surge of expectation from them that required more of me.
Sure they wanted time with me, toys, trips, activities etc., but their desire for me went beyond the material. My children wanted the intangible things that would touch their heart and ignite their motivation and desire to be someone special.
They wanted my encouragement. Playing Legos became, “Dad do you think I can build buildings when I grow up?” Or watching HGTV, “Dad, I’m going to have a house in Paris and the United States”. The list could go on especially with six kids, but the lesson for me was to listen to the heart of my children and give them the confidence of possibility and hope for them as “grown-ups”.
Then… I realized, I was giving to them what was given to me by my father.
I was paying the hope and expectation of a good life forward.
I am what I am today because of what was given to me by my dad.
I don’t take likely the heritage of encouragement given to me.
This is my “it” that I’m paying forward. Encouragement. Possibility. What is yours?
And as you would wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Luke 6:31 ESV
By Thomas Williams
Husband to Karla
Dad of 6
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Speaker, Writer, and Advocate for Children