When I was a young father back in the eighties I remember a conversation I had with Bill Kimple an older guy at our church. I always called him Mr. Kimple, though I know he would have been fine with me calling him Bill, it somehow didn't sit right with me. He was a man who was highly respected in our community. He was a family man, a business man and a man who loved Jesus, loved his family and loved people. He had a way of saying things to you, kind of out of the blue, that would stop you in your tracks and make you think. I have cherished memories of Mr. (Bill) Kimple and several remembered conversations I came away from with a nugget of wisdom or bit of truth that I carry with me still today and this is one of them.
One cold, snowy Sunday after church as my wife and I were wrangling our kids, getting coats on and gathering up all the "stuff" that travels with a baby and two toddlers whenever we left the house... Mr. Kimple came up to me and said, "Someday you're gonna miss this." I looked up at him smiling down at me as I was trying to coax four tiny fingers and a thumb into the correct parts of an impossibly tiny mitten. Maybe I was looking extra frazzled at the moment I don't know but I smiled back and said, "yea I guess so." "Oh believe me," he said... "you will long for these days. Children are a gift and we only get to have them for such a short time and before you know it these kids will be grownup and these days will be gone. So, enjoy them while you can." As I gathered up a few stray cheerios from under the seat and rescued the purple crayon that went missing during the sermon I thought to myself, I'm not gonna miss this. But I was wrong and Mr. Kimple was right of course ... I do miss it... I miss it all and you will too.
As a young father I knew I didn't know it all but I thought I knew enough. I didn't realize it then but in hindsight I can see like many young men I was fairly confident and secure in my own abilities and if I'm honest a bit arrogant as well. But with age comes clarity and hopefully wisdom if we're willing to accept it. I'm sure you've heard the saying "hindsight is 20/20" and it's true because it's all about perspective. It's impossible for us to know what it's like until we've been there, made the journey and lived to tell about it. For young parents who are feeling the weight of this parenting gig and the responsibility of raising these babies to be healthy, happy, productive members of society it can be overwhelming. When you're in the thick of it just trying to do the next thing that needs to be done... picking up cheerios or getting tiny fingers into tiny mittens... it's easy to loose sight of the really important parts of being a parent.
Mr. Kimple helped me see something I might have been missing that day. He brought his perspective, his wisdom learned from years of being there, traveling that road and understanding this truth. How easy it is to get caught up in the day to day, mundane parts of raising kids and how much we will miss it all someday. I guess that's why I'm doing this podcast and why I'm sharing this story with you today. I'm not a parenting expert or child development specialist. I don't have any degrees or special training in the areas of child psychology and I certainly don’t have all the answers. But what I do have is perspective and experiences from this journey I've been on. Like Mr. Kimple, I love Jesus, I love my family and I love connecting with people like you and your kids and families like yours. I hope people find some encouragement and inspiration in the songs I sing and the things I share in concerts and workshops and though this podcast. Things like this little nugget of truth today... "You're gonna miss this someday... so enjoy your kids!"
Cheering you on!