Selasa, 06 Agustus 2013

How Jazz-Parenting Saved This Ministry Family

How Jazz-Parenting Saved This Ministry Family

How Jazz-Parenting Saved This Ministry Family
When you write a new song for your family's life, sometimes you make it up as you go along.
Harry Chapin’s "Cat’s In the Cradle" became a theme song for our boomer-generation. Post World War II dads loved their families by working hard. Our fathers built secure moral boundaries, but left us with an aching vacuum inside.
We wanted to write a new song with our sons, Jon and Tim. But like jazz, we made it up as we went along.

The first chord change came as an epiphany: Love is spelled T-I-M-E.

Our fathers spelled love: W-O-R-K. But how does my child translate my presence or absence?
One morning, as Mark was having his dutiful quiet time, working 80 hours a week, he heard these words: "How will you feel if you win 5,000 people to the Lord and lose your own son?"
Our schedule betrayed what we loved most. So we made peace with our calendar, writing in The Non-negotiables. Mark cancelled his late meetings before dinner to wrestle with Jon and Tim. Wrestling became a tangible symbol of his heart: I'm here, on your level, hugging, able to be touched, ready to play.
We learned how to fill our son's love tanks by reading great stories, especially the Narnia series, building tree forts or cheering on soccer sidelines, applauding at recitals. Later, we added surfing, and listening to U2 and Led Zeppelin. And now, we continue to surf, share inspiring books, laugh at ourselves and drink good coffee.
We've discovered that simply enjoying our children is perhaps the best gift we could give to not only our sons, but to the world. A child who feels loved is free to express that love to others.

A second realization followed: As we enjoy our kids, they will grasp God's enjoyment of them.

When Jon was five, he misunderstood the phrase: "We have peace with God." Turning to a young friend, he announced, "We have pizza with God!"
I really like his interpretation better.
Spirituality pursues truth in relationships; it's not just a quest to be right. Truth allows everyone to come to the table. Simply memorizing right answers can lead to pride, or the fear of getting it wrong.

When you write a new song for your family's life, sometimes you make it up as you go along.
We encouraged Jon and Tim to ask big questions about the mystery of God. They, in turn, welcomed friends into our home with differing worldviews. The dialogue was lively and loving.
When younger, we celebrated Saturday mornings with Jesus Time. We had outrageous fun singing, dancing and acting out stories. It was sort of a wrestling time with God, in the best sense. God enjoys our kids, too.
No wonder Jon told his friend about the pizza.

A third inspiration may have come from Scripture: Children need creative space.

There was only one tree that was off limits in Eden. All the rest were available and inviting. We opened our home to become a conservatory for eager toddlers. Jon and Tim could play a kitchen drum-station, with pots and wooden spoons, then transition to an easel with paint, or build with blocks, and listen to a favorite record. They built couch castles and performed magic tricks.
We did not own a television. This was a radical shift from our own family cultures, where we ate our meals on TV trays, lined robotically before a flickering screen. Yes, we can hum a new tune. Because we are all artists in the image of the consummate Artist, we can be original.

Then came a fourth surprising decision: We must become an accelerator pedal instead of a brake.

Jan's first cell phone broadcast this innocuous message: "Be safe. Be courteous."
How easily that slogan can become ours as parents. Put simply, we want our kids to be good—not naughty, but nice. We become brakes.
But is aiming for protection really safe? We realized our most effective strategy was leaning into this fallen creation with the hope that our children could be agents of change. We push the accelerator.

When you write a new song for your family's life, sometimes you make it up as you go along.
We intentionally exposed our children to the common good: museums, plays, great literature, science and the arts. Through these experiences, Jon and Tim developed good taste, and became more discerning consumers of culture.
We kept our sons in public schools, whenever feasible, and encouraged friendships with kids who were wholesome, but not necessarily holy. We trusted them to talk about difficult issues, and tried to just listen without judgment. We made our home available, with free snacks.
Jon was born days before Halloween. Soon after birth, we cradled him through a costumed crowd of goblins, werewolves and witches for his first photos. We wanted desperately to shelter our innocent son from those hideous masks. In retrospect, we realize this was an illustration of his calling, to enter the dark corners of this world, and shine redemptive light. It is the calling of all God’s children.
We wanted our children to love all God’s world. Their mission, as God's kids, is to influence culture, not escape it. They have done a better job than we. Now they are writing their own unique songs. And we are singing along.  
Mark Foreman Mark Foreman is a simple man who is learning to follow Jesus wholly. He is the husband of Jan and father of Jon and Tim of the band Switchfoot. He is the lead pastor of North Coast Calvary Chapel—a “church without walls”—which has built its reputation by erasing the barriers of the church.

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