Writer Jeannie Williams tells a story about a five-year-old named Joey, who was asked by his kindergarten teacher to draw a picture of something he loved. He drew his family, then took a crayon and colored a red circle around the stick figures. He wanted to write a word at the top of the picture, so he approached his teacher’s desk. “Teacher,” he asked, “how do you spell—” Before he could finish the question, the teacher told him to sit down and not interrupt the class. Joey folded the paper and stuck it in his pocket.
When Joey got home, he saw his mother preparing supper. “Mom,” he asked, “how do you spell—” She cut him off with, “Joey, can’t you see I’m busy right now? Why don’t you go outside and play?”
That evening, Joey approached his father. “Daddy, how do you spell—” His father interrupted without looking up from his newspaper. “Joey, I’m reading right now. Why don’t you go outside and play?”
It was more than twenty years later when Joey—now Joe—sat with his five-year-old daughter, Annie, in his lap. They were looking and laughing at a picture she had drawn of their family. Suddenly, Annie jumped up and ran into the kitchen. She returned a moment later with a pencil and positioned it over the top of the picture.
“Daddy,” she asked. “How do you spell love?”
Joe looked thoughtful for a moment. Then he gently gathered Annie in his arms and guided her hand as she formed each letter. “Love,” he said, “is spelled T-I-M-E.”
Don’t you agree with Joe? When we tell our children that we love them, the words carry a hollow ring unless we back them up “with actions and in truth.” God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us. He cares for us so deeply that He makes Himself available to us every moment through prayer. Our loving Lord is always ready to spend time with His children. When our own kids seek us out, we must be ready and willing to do the same.
- Shirley M. Dobson
Illustration adapted from “Circle of Love” by Jeannie S. Williams. © 1998.
This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.