My three-year-old is a fun kid. He is always looking for an audience. He will yell from across the park, “Watch me, Dad!” He’ll grab my hand and pull me upstairs and say, “Watch me.” Then, he’ll throws racecars back down the stairs. The simplest things are amazing in his eyes, and he wants me to watch everything.
The other day I went to the garage to “clean up.” You know, the type of cleaning we do to get away for a few minutes. When I was in the garage, my three-year-old son came in and asked, “Can I help you, Daddy?”
I said, “Sure,” and let him play around while I re-organized my tools from a project I had just finished. My saw needed a new blade, so I sat down on a bench and proceeded to take it apart.
While I was working and focused on the saw, my son looked over at me and yelled, “Watch Me!” I looked over, and he had a jump rope. I watch him struggle a few times with it, then proceeded to look back at my saw once again. He yelled, “Watch Me!” again.
I looked up for a second time to see him failing miserably at jumping rope; it was more like jumping and holding a rope. Again, I looked back down to finish changing the blade on my saw. Once I finished, I looked up to find that my son was gone. I immediately thought he went down the driveway, so I ran to the font of the house to make sure he wasn’t playing in the street. Then, I walked in the house and found him watching TV. I guess he was done helping me.
I went back outside, and immediately felt the Lord speak to me. I didn’t hear an audible voice, but felt Him say, “Why didn’t you watch him?” As I felt this weight of failure hit me like a ton of bricks, I said out loud in my garage, “You are right; I missed it.” You see, while I was focused on my saw, I missed an opportunity. My son wanted my attention, not only because he wanted his dad to watch him and be proud of him, he was asking me to help him. He didn’t know how to jump rope, and two times I watched him fail and did nothing about it.
I went inside, grabbed my son, and together we went back to the garage. I grasped the jump rope and yelled at him, “Watch Me!” It took me a few minutes, but I got back in rhythm and showed him how to do it. Then I handed it to him so he could try, and what do you know? He got it. He just needed some help.
As he kept jumping with the rope, he would pause and say, “Did you see that?” And I was able to say, “I SEE YOU.”
That day I was reminded that our kids want our eyes. Don’t miss the opportunity to bless your kids by giving them your attention. How many teachable moments do we miss because we’re not watching? As dads, our role is to teach and instruct our kids about life. They want our approval and they want our help and some of the best ways we can teach them is by showing them how.
Next time my kids say, “Watch Me,” I hope I always give them my full attention.
By Bobby Cooley