What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Two Kinds of Parents

Several years ago I was hanging out with a couple students in their apartment just off campus. One of the guys was loading the dishwasher while the other one supervised. Conversation ensued about their dads and their philosophy on loading the dishwasher. It went something like this:

Steve: "Man, in my house my dad was always on us about cleaning the dishes thoroughly before they went in the dishwasher. It was like a twice-baked potato, only it was a twice-washed dish. He was paranoid about them not getting clean. I was always like, 'why do we have a dishwasher if we're going to wash the dishes by hand anyway?'"

Joel: "My dad was the complete opposite. He'd see us rinsing off the dishes and he'd say, 'What are you doing? Stop that right now. We have a dishwasher for a reason. If it won't get the dishes clean, we'll just get another dishwasher.'"

For some reason this conversation has stayed with me for eleven or so years as a picture of the two different styles of parenting. I'd like to be as care-free as the latter: if it doesn't work, we'll just get another dishwasher! If things don't quite go right, we can find creative alternative solutions.

There's a sense of living a fully-resourced life in the former that the latter doesn't have. Some of this is perhaps reflective of genuine realities (i.e. if our dishwasher doesn't work we don't exactly have the cash to go out and buy another one). But the general feeling that we don't live fearfully is attractive to me. We don't have to have a fearful approach to the small things in life that eat up our energies.

But I think I find myself more concerned about meaningless details like the Ranch dressing still on the plate in the dishwasher than freed up to just enjoy the more important stuff in life. Freedom from worry and anxiety (even and especially over small things) is an important part of the process of my life in Christ.

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