Peyton’s Tooth

My son, Peyton, (who is 4 1/2 years old) lost his first tooth last week. It was something that we knew was coming for a while. His tooth started to get loose about a month ago and every day we would look at it and see if it was ready to come out. Then when we were putting him to bed one night last week, we noticed it was just about ready and Suzanne asked him if he wanted us to pull it out. At first he was scared. Scared it would hurt and scared it would bleed. We told him not to worry, that it wouldn’t hurt and that if it bled, it would just be for a second.

Suzanne pulled on his tooth and it came right out. No pain, no blood. And Peyton was so excited, he felt like such a big boy and he was so proud of his tooth. p1020539.jpg

He even took it to “show and tell” at preschool the next day.

But for me, the moment was bitter sweet. I was so proud of Peyton and excited with him, but for me it was one of those moments where God gives you a milestone in your life and reminds you that time is limited. Peyton doesn’t belong to me, God has entrusted him to me for a short amount of time. I do not have an infinite amount of time to teach him the things that are my responsibility to pass on to him.

That moment was a challenge to me to remember how important my job as a dad is. Peyton and Lauren are the main discipleship opportunity that God has provided me with. It is not the church’s job, or a school’s job to teach him how to be a man. I have the main responsibility to teach him what it means to be a godly man and to live a life radically devoted to Jesus.

I know that I mess a lot of things up being a dad, but I refuse to mess this responsibility up. God reminded me that day that you can’t disciple someone unless you spend time with them. I can’t teach Peyton about Jesus if I never make time to be with him and have conversation with him (our main conversations about God are not something I can force, they come out of everyday natural conversation and questions that Peyton brings up). He can’t learn from me about how I live my life and react to circumstances if he is not in those circumstances with me.

I know that I won’t be there for every moment in his life…or for every tooth falling out. But Suzanne and I are making a choice right now to take advantage of the time God has given us with our kids to spend time with them, love them, and point them to their heavenly father who is always with them every moment. He will never miss a tooth falling out of their mouth or a hair falling off their head.

I want Peyton to follow me and learn from me…but only because I want him to learn that my life and his life need to be about following Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

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