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“Daddy, Look at Me!”

Once in a while, I will be interrupted with my kids running up to me and shouting, “Daddy, look at me!” or “Daddy, watch me do this!” I usually get a good chuckle out of what I see, as what they show me ends up being pretty silly and clumsy. Sometimes it’s a somersault gone sideways, or a headstand which never makes it to a headstand. Or it may be a half hoolahoop twirl, or a jump in the air while turning which leads to a clumsy fall.

My children look so proud when showing me what they can do. And when one child asks me to watch, the other almost always comes right up behind the first and says, “Oh, Daddy, look at Me! I can do THIS!” It quickly turns into a show of who can impress me the most, with the feats getting more ridiculous and silly until it all ends in complete uncontrollable laughter.

I always enjoy the fun with my children, but the truth is, I am rarely impressed. They, however, think they have achieved something that will make me proud of them and love them more, or will win my approval of them. But the truth is, what they can or cannot do never ever makes me love them more or less.

Observing my children always gets me to thinking. As adults, don’t we often act like children trying to impress God? We think we can perform some physical feat, or achieve some academic milestone, and impress God. We think to ourselves, “God, look at me! I did it!” And whether we say it out loud or not, deep down inside we are thinking, “So, now, You love me more; right, God? Look at what I did! Look what I just achieved!”

I love my children so much; I don’t know how I could love them anymore. It’s just not possible! Any parent knows what I mean. It’s a love you just can’t explain to those who haven’t experienced parenthood. And your children can do nothing to make you love them more. Yet, they try their hardest to make you love them more than their brother or sister. It’s a pointless endeavor. My wife and I love our children each in their own unique way, none more, none less, than the other. And they can do nothing that will make us love them more.

My children can, however, impress me. This past Christmas I encouraged my children to find something they owned to give away to some less fortunate child as part of a toy drive. My son immediately said, “Daddy, I want to give up my Mack truck with Lightning McQueen and all of the cars in it.” “ALL of the cars in it?” was my reply. “Yes, Daddy, Yes!” The Mack truck was a big truck built to hold eighteen small model cars from the Disney movie “Cars,” and was an item he got at Disneyland which he treasured and played with every single day. It was his prized possession! He valued no toy more highly. I asked him many times, “Are you sure this is what you want to give away? Do you understand that you will never see the Mack truck again?” “Yes, yes, yes, Daddy. I want to let some other boy play with it. It will make him very happy. I’m sure this is what I want to give.”

I sat dumbfounded for a minute, in stunned silence. I was moved to tears for two reasons. First, my three-year-old son wanted to make another boy happy, and he was willing to part with something that was almost a part of him. He was choosing to see beyond himself and beyond his own pleasure. Second, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I, myself, felt reluctant to give this toy away. But my son’s heart was bigger than mine. His love and sense of sharing was more radical than mine!

For that, God gave me a heart check: Was I doing things that truly impress God? God chooses the weak things to shame the strong, and He tells us in the Bible that the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who have hearts like little children. My son put me to shame that day as I realized his heart was bigger than mine. He had done something that truly impressed me.

While I sat there still with a lump in my throat, gathering this all in, my three-year-old went on playing with other toys. He didn’t miss a beat. He didn’t stop to notice that I was sitting there stunned, impressed, in amazed silence. I was awed at the size of his heart. But he didn’t even notice. There was no, “Daddy, look at what I just gave! Look at what I just shared! Aren’t you proud of me?” Words could not describe how proud I was of him, how truly impressed I was.

Jesus said in the Bible, “what you do for the least of these, you do for me.” God is not impressed by our bravado, our achievements, our “I just did better than him; did you see that God?” The Bible says God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. God looks into our heart.

So, are we capable of the radical love of a three-year-old? Can we give away what we most treasure to help somebody else in need? Perhaps as adults we need to stop comparing ourselves to others—to stop trying to “one-up” our brother or sister. We simply cannot make God love us more. He is not impressed by our somersaults, headstands, academic degrees, fancy cars, big houses or social status. He’s not even impressed with Olympic medals, Nobel prizes, lifetime achievement medals, employee of the month plaques, our “I conquered the world” or “been there, won that” trophy. These are nothing to him. They are what the Bible refers to as “man’s empty praise.”

We should do the things that really impress God. Or we may be shamed and embarrassed by a three-yearold!

(Diamond Y. Tam, MD, lives in the Toronto area with his wife and children. He is a private practice ophthalmologist in the area.)

Article Link: http://ccmusa.org/read/read.aspx?id=chg20120305
To reuse online, please credit Challenger, Jul-Sep 2012. CCMUSA.