This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to spend three days with my son on a camping trip. We went to a father/son archery camp. There was a lot about archery, but more about hunting in general. The camp was fun, learned a little, but more importantly had a blast with my son.
One night on our way back to our camp site we were following a trail through the woods when we came across a old, long, rotten tree branch that had snap off the tree and was was lying across our trail partially covered up with leaves and dirt. It had obviously been there a long time. I could tell it was a tree branch but to a nine year old from a distance, it had a very ominous look to it. So as we approached my son asked me, "What's that on our trail?" I stopped and looked and said, "I don't know, it looks like a anaconda!" Immediately my son shot back, "no it isn't dad! There are no anacondas here." We both laughed and went on about our way going to our campsite. That's when it happened! Walking along the trail my son then asked, "Dad, there aren't' any anacondas here, right?" I reassured him that I was only kidding and there were no anacondas in Oklahoma.
You see I realized again how much our children hang on every word we, their parents, say! My son had studied other parts of the world along with North America. He knew that there were no anacondas in North America. He knew that they lived in South America. Yet, even though he had that knowledge when his dad even hinted that their might possibly be a giant South American snake in central Oklahoma, he was ready to believe it. Our children so want to hear from mom and dad that they will even believe the unbelievable if we say it's true.
On that walk through the woods I learned that I have tremendous power over my children. I can build them up with words of encouragement. I can fan the flames of great dreams they have to one day do great things. I can speak truth into their lives from the good news of God's Word. I can share with them the good news of the Gospel and how it will change their lives. Or, I can completely destroy them with one harsh word, one false statement, one attack on their dreams. I have the power to be a dream killer or a world changer in the lives of my children.
Mom and dad, the next time one of your children tell you they are going to be the next great baseball player or the next great ballerina, be quick to encourage instead of squashing their dream. The next time your child says lets play dress up tea party. Tell them your going to get your best suit on and you can't wait for the party. The next time your teenager says I don't feel right doing the things all the other teenagers are doing, but how do I say "no"? You take them to the Word of God and encourage them with the hope and the instruction from Proverbs.
These are the days that the Lord has given us with our children. They are few and they are fleeting. So we must act now! We must take full advantage of every second to speak words that will teach, encourage and build up. We must take every opportunity to change the lives of our children so that their family tree will be forever changed.
So the next time you're out at the mall with your child, or taking a walk through the neighborhood with your son or you're picking your daughter up from ballet and you see a anaconda, remember that anaconda might just change your family tree.
Don't be afraid to change your family tree!
Family Tree Ministries