“So Pat said unto the young men of Arlington, ‘How long will you delay
going in to take possession of the ice cream from thine refrigerator, which
the Lord hath given unto you? Provide three men from thine house, and I
will send them out that they may seek frozen goodness from throughout
the freezer. You shall write a description of the frosty flavors with a view to
your inheritances and then come to me with spoon in hand.’”
Recognize this Bible story from Joshua 18? I did change it (a little), but the
principle is the same. Seven tribes of Israel had not taken possession of
good things the Lord God had provided. Joshua demanded, “How long
will you put off going in to take possession of the land, which the Lord,
the God of your fathers, has given you?”Why were the men of Israel hesi-
tant? Well, maybe because they were guys, and sometimes guys find it
easier to take possession of the couch than of the land our Lord gave us.
Note verses 4-9 state“describe”and“write a description”six times! Why did
Joshua tell themen towrite downwhat they saw? Ladies, you already know
this answer: Joshua told the men to write it down because they were guys.
About forty years earlier Joshua was on a twelve-man Special Operations
Group invading Canaan. The mission went badly, with ten of the twelve
operators giving wildly inaccurate reports. This time Joshua wasn’t letting
the team spin up any bogus facts about giants in the land (see Numbers
13). Something about writing down the truth keeps a man sane.
Fast forward 3400 years to my family after a recent home school semester
ended and my sons responded with great joy to the Call of the Wii. Until
their heartless father proclaimed, “Nope! You shall make the best of your
summer days!” Then, for about the fiftieth time, I told my sons the story
of squandering my B.C. (before Christ) life and the film music calling the
Lord gave me. For about the fiftieth time, my sons pretended to listen. So,
I took desperate measures. I wrote it down.
Cracking open a fresh deck of 3x5 index cards, I scrawled crazy phrases
like,“Learn to whistle loudly”and,“Attend Boy Scout camp.”I inked insane
ideas like, “Earn driver license” and, “Listen to stories of naval heroes.” No
mention of calculus or dissecting anything. I taped the vision cards on the
back of a door. Twice a week I called my sons to the door and reviewed
their vision cards and a life beyondWii.
Ephesians 2:10 reads, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ
Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should
walk in them.”
“Walk in them.”Not “struggle” or “thrash futilely.”Dads, if you or your child
question why you were created, visit Ephesians 2:10 before leaving on the
journey to “find yourself.”You’ve already been found.
So dads, how do you find out which “land” the Lord has promised to your
children?Well, paying attention is always a goodmove when working with
your children. I remember my six-year-old daughter Halley turning her
head to talk with me while continuing to play a complicated piano piece.
I was never able to do that! So Halley received the land of piano lessons.
Leadership expert John Maxwell says, “Over the course of an hour-long
dinner conversation you can almost always identify what makes another
person tick by asking three simple questions:
“1.Whatmakes you cry?That is, what burdens your spirit or weighs
heavily on your heart?”
“2. What makes you sing?What activities bring you joy?”
“3. What do you dream of doing or becoming?”
Dads, I’m guessing you can ask three questions while eating with your
child. When your child answers, write it down.
In the book of Revelation, an intriguing phrase appears twice, in 7:17 and
21:4:“Godwill wipe away every tear fromtheir eyes.”Fromthe verses’context,
it appears these are not tears of sadness after an oppressed life on earth.
Rather, these are tears of regret from a life that was not invested wholly in
the Lord. I don’t want my children having regretful tears. I want them to
hear the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been
faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your
Master.” (See Matthew 25.)
So I tried it. I asked the questions. I watched my children. I discovered the
needs for dance shoes, music lessons, art supplies, hero books, Legos,
camping gear, and toy soldiers. I even wrote it all down. Because I am a guy.
Please send an email to
I’d love to read
stories of your children’s talents and how you’ve helped them pursue
those talents. E-mail me at ImperfectFa-
Pat and Belinda Harrell have home schooled
since 1995. They have five jolly children—
and the loudest house on the block. Please
send your thoughts on this article to Pat at
He promises to
to reach their
by Pat Harrell