Sometimes really important conversations happen when you least expect them.
Isaac is the fourth of our sons and is ten years old. The two of us were chatting in the car last weekend and he told me about a school friend whose father had died and before we knew it we were talking about what we’d want to say to each other if we knew we had just a day to live. I recalled the conversation as I read in yesterday’s Times that 75% of the UK population don’t talk about death, which is surely unhealthy; we must be open about these things and best start young.
Isaac went first and I was touched when he told me that he’d want to say that he loved me and would miss me. Then it was my turn. Instead of telling Isaac what I’d say, I told him there were two things I would want to say – and could he guess what they were? So he started where he’d left off with me – and said he thought I’d want to tell him that I loved him. I agreed.
That was the first thing I would want him to know and be sure of. That I loved him very much and would always want him to know that for the rest of his life. He was my son and I appreciated him deeply. I would want him to know for the rest of his life that his father really really loved him. And I told him that I hoped he knew that right now! To my relief, he said he did!
What about the second thing? He didn’t take very long on that one and launched straight in, telling me he’d thought I’d want him to know that Jesus loved him. And he was right!
I told him that’s exactly what I’d say because I want him to know that forever. I told him that was actually the most important thing he needed to know in life – and that the best thing he could do with his life is love Jesus back and follow him all his days and into eternity. If he knew that and did that, then I could die at peace. Again he told me in a very natural, down-to-earth way that he did!
I was pleased. Pleased to be able to tell Isaac again about my love for him and the even deeper and more perfect love of Jesus Christ for him (Eph 3:16-19) . Pleased that he seemed to say these things naturally and honestly, without any sense of wanting to say ‘the right thing’ to please his dad. And pleased that we could talk openly about love, faith and death – because we must.
But the thing I was most pleased about were his answers. Because at the age of ten Isaac has grasped the two crucial things a father should tell his child. And for that, I am sincerely thankful.
A very special well spent time for you and Isaac to have together. We should all pray for such opportunity with our children. `Spot those times when conversations can be opened up to things of heaven, as opposed to closing down and just instructing-do this ,do that, do it like this, this is what `i think…..Thankyou again Matthew. love to you and all your boys and girl
Thank you so much Matthew for sharing your love with us.
Sadly or should I say tragically my father died when I was 21, and there have been times when I really could have done with him to lean on. Now some 37 years later I have many fathers (men and women of faith, generosity of spirit, and loving fellowship) who I have met at St Mikes but none more treasured than my new Heavenly Father who I can lean on and always count on and to “know this love that surpasses knowledge”
Hi Matthew. Having just subscribed to your blog as I believe we’ve met a few times in and around Doncaster albeit many years ago, I thought I’d read a few articles you’ve, and chose this one as my first. Must say, fully appreciated it, and I envy your relationship with your children. Sadly sometimes this relationships can brake down. I pray and hope that yours will stay as close as they obviously are. I also note your current position / job title. I have to say, having met David Watson a few times when younger, if he’s reading your blogs now on a celestial laptop, I think he’ll be pleased!
Thank you so much for this blog, it’s a testimony to how love can break down barriers and preconceptions, and generate such strong foundations.
One thing I did pick up on is that you asked Isaac for his thoughts on what two things you wanted to say, rather than telling them straight to him – that’s a wonderful way of expressing how important you feel Isaac’s thoughts and feelings are to you and him.
I must listen more to my own kids, which honors them and honors the relationship between parent and child.
May God continue to bless you and your family richly each day.
Thanks my friend. God bless. Matthew