Tim sat with joyful tension on the edge of the seat behind that giant wheel. His position on the seat was fashioned not for comfort, but rather by his outstretched leg straining for the pedal. His hands were sweaty with excitement. This was a day he had been looking forward to for years, he was about to drive his dad’s lawn mower.
By design, our Lord has built the desire into children to touch their father’s work. Children learn best in the context of daily life. Deuteronomy 6 describes a setting in which training, nurturing, and discipleship take place in the context of daily labor. Jesus modeled that kind of training with his disciples. Learning happens while life goes on.
Unfortunately the kind of work that today’s “civilized world” provides does not, in many cases, afford the opportunity for hands-on involvement for children. Many of us, as dads, must drive away from our homes in the morning to work settings and locations that do not allow our children to participate. Even in technology-based home businesses it can be difficult to include entrepreneurs in training, I mean, how many fingers can be on the keyboard at once?
Many cultures today, and even our own culture only a hundred years ago, not only allowed, but depended on young men and women assisting in family enterprise. Young John or Sue would help putting in hay, or stocking shelves in the family mercantile, or carrying coal for the forge in the smith shop attached to the house. Labor was a family affair.
Jesus came not to do his own work, but to do his Father’s work. We should be equipping our children to do the same.