Lately my son has become obsessed with being in a band and becoming a world-famous rock star. He’s eight years old. But he is determined and convinced it will happen for him. So he’s begun writing songs–lots of songs. Everywhere I go in our house I find pieces of paper with lyrics scribbled all over them. And any time I go to use the family iPad, it’s too full of videos to do anything else. Here’s the thing: if you read those lyrics and watch those videos you’ll find that they’re pretty repetitive; seriously, it’s the same line over and over again. It’s not Grammy-winning material, so far…
And that’s the thing I can’t shake: it’s “so far.” Like I said, he’s an eight-year-old boy who has a wild and crazy dream, and if he has the wherewithal to write down even simple lyrics at this young age, what might he be capable of in 10-15 years? It would be easy for me to not think that way; it’s my default after all. Be realistic. Be serious. Think reasonably. Most people never make it as musicians; at least to a level that can support a family. As his father, isn’t it my job to help him grow up with his “head on straight?”
Can I be honest with you? I hate how that’s my default. I hate that I’m not better about dreaming with my kids and fanning sparks into flames. What if Justin Timberlake’s parents told him that a music career wasn’t a serious one? I bet they’re glad they didn’t when he pays for a nice vacation or meal. And I don’t want to think of this from the perspective that sees a possible retirement plan via my child’s riches, but the perspective that’s simply trying to love my son and grow him into the man God has created him to be.
Have you ever thought about that idea for very long? The fact that God created your children? We love to take the credit for that, but we overestimate ourselves. Psalm 139 reads, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (v13-14, NIV). My son is fearfully and wonderfully made. He is a wonderful work of God Himself. And let me tell you, God has knit together one created little boy. So I’ve begun looking at the dreams of my sons as an opportunity to shine light on the amazing creativity of God. Their creativity is His creativity. Me cheering them on and at times playing along is a chance for me to worship God and celebrate His creative work.
I don’t know if my son will ever stand in front of an auditorium and sing songs he’s written… but he might. Because right now, he’s just in the “so far.” Isn’t it interesting how much we are all in the “so far?” We’re all becoming. Whether we’re 7, 17, 37 or 77, we’re growing in our person. Some of us are simply growing in our knowledge and understanding. Others of us are doing our best to grow in our likeness to Jesus. We’re not very much like him, so far, but we’re working. So what if we did a better job of cutting each other a little slack? What if we understood that we’re all fearfully and wonderfully made? You may not have children of your own, but you have co-workers, or brothers and sisters, or neighbors that aren’t quite where you think they should be. Do you see their potential? Or their shortcomings? Do you see the lyrics they’re writing and think, “that’s not much to write home about” or do you see what they could become one day?
I’m thankful God spends more time thinking about the latter with me. And my goal is to spend more time thinking about the latter with my sons, my co-workers, the people I go to church with, and the people I sit in traffic with. Because in the end, we’re all still in the “so far.”