“Hold on tight dad”
This Sunday is Father’s Day, I hope you will permit me to use a personal experience to illustrate what God has shown me this week. They are truths that span the generations.

A couple of weeks ago I was sent a short video clip of my granddaughter. The family were at a farm park and were enjoying a ride in a land train. The clip shows the two year old with the wind blowing through her curly blonde hair and finishes with her saying those four words of advice. “Hold on tight dad.” This was not only an instruction to her dad, but also a piece of advice that everyone there including herself would do well to listen too.

Often what we say comes from what is said to us, this is how we learn. Especially when we are so young we learn in many ways. We can be told what to do, which none of us like! We can just try to do something and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. But probably the best way to learn what to do, how to behave or to learn a new skill, is to observe how someone else does it and follow their example. Most of the time we are not aware that we are being observed.

I think there are two lessons that can be learnt from this. Firstly we must look to the right people to teach us and to guide us. Jesus himself said that he looked to his Father to see what to do himself. John 5: 19-20 (CEV) Jesus told the people: I tell you for certain that the Son cannot do anything on his own. He can do only what he sees the Father doing, and he does exactly what he sees the Father do. The Father loves the Son and has shown him everything he does.

Secondly we, as parents, or friends, must always be aware of what we are modelling for our children. As children grow up they are so influenced by what the people around them are doing. Observing and copying behaviours, some good and often some not so good. We should constantly be aware that how we react to adversity, how we deal with frustration, how we solve problems are noticed, and our example, whether good or bad, is followed by our children.

What is evident in the physical world is true too of the spiritual world. We may not all have the privilege of being a father or mother at the moment, but we can all be ‘spiritual parents’ to be good examples as we are observed or even go further and become mentors. The educational system is looking for people equipped to become child mentors or even family mentors.

In the same way we have a perfect example in Jesus, and we are enabled by the Holy Spirit to follow him. Our Heavenly Father is always good to us. He will never do anything to our detriment. He gives to us his Spirit to guide us, we only have to ask! Matt 7: 11 (CEV) Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask.

Let us, therefore, live our lives in such a way as to be a positive influence on all those around us. So that as they observe what we do, they may catch a glimpse of Jesus. Mathew 5: 16 (CEV) Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.