Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 20: Creating a Legacy of Purpose

What's our greatest resource in this world? Is it oil or crops or solar energy? Think about it. What do we have with us today that will invest the most in our future as a nation and even the whole world?

Two words: our children.

Let's be honest.  If we're going to live life with God-given purpose as our priority, then we've got to nurture the same in our children.

Now when I say "our children," I'm not letting any of you off the hook. Years before I had children of my own, I had two nieces, lots of younger cousins, and countless children and teens in my church, neighborhood and community. If you're over the age of twenty-one, you've got influence -- and responsibility -- in the lives of young people around you. Please don't waste that influence.

As for my kiddos, my husband and I have already caught tiny glimpses of God's vision for them. (Notice I said God's vision, not our vision!) Each one is completely tailor-made with his or her own personality, talents, spiritual gifts and passions. I'll give you a quick introduction to each.

Kalin is our oldest and quite the old soul. He is quiet, calm and creative. He is very compassionate, and hurts deeply for others in pain. (Wonder where he gets that from?) At fourteen, he is already writing christian rap music, poetry and books. He will soon be a published poet, having had a poem accepted by a Christian magazine publisher.

10-year-old Christian, affectionately known by his 3-year-old sister as Ray Lewis (from the Baltimore Ravens), is our jock. He's tough as nails, yet very caring. He carries a football around the house, plays Madden on Wii and watches the NFL channel all day long if we allow him. He dreams of playing in the NFL, and doesn't consider any other career choice. He's often said, "When I retire from the NFL, I think I want to be a police officer."

Joelle is my fashion diva. At a mere six, this girl loves dresses, makeup and nail polish. She is sassy and dramatic, but terribly sweet. When I style her hair, I twist it into one pink bow. Later, she fixes it by adding six more multicolored bows. This girlie-girl would find a cute barrette in a hay stack. When I'm dressed up to go out, she's the child that watches me with starry eyes and says, "Oooo Mommy, you look pretty!"

Jada, my 3-year-old, is the boss of the family. She pretty much keeps the rest of us in line. She's smart as a whip and sweet as pie. Whenever something is lost, Jada finds it. She's persistent and inquisitive. She's the kind of kid that just gets it. She loves to be read to, and memorizes books in a few readings. Our babysitter has said she'll be president one day.

So how do we inspire God-given purpose in the children in our lives? We must nurture our young people as the Great Bellini did.

In the beloved children's book Mirette On the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully, a young girl named Mirette helps her mother run a boarding house in Paris. She and her mother welcome travelers from all over the world, many of them acrobats, jugglers, actors and mimes. One evening a gentleman knocks; he is in need of lodging. He identifies himself as Bellini, a retired high wire walker.

In fact, he is the Great Bellini, who had crossed Niagara Falls on a thousand-foot wire in ten minutes and the Alps with baskets tied to his feet.

A day after Bellini arrives, Mirette spies him practicing on a high wire. Enchanted, she begs Bellini to teach her to walk the high wire. After protesting a bit, Bellini gives in, and daily trains his new young charge.

How did Bellini train Mirette? His words communicate a lot of wisdom to us:

After seeing Mirette walk the high wire after a week of practicing alone, he says, "In the beginning everyone falls. Most give up. But you kept trying. Perhaps you have talent as well."
  • He encourages her to keep trying and not to give up
  • He identifies her natural talent and affirms it
"Bellini was a strict master. 'Never let your eyes stray,' he told her day after day. 'Think only of the wire and of crossing to the end.'"
  • He stresses the importance of focusing on her purpose
  • He was a strict teacher, encouraging practice, practice, practice 

When she improved greatly, Mirette shouted, "I will never fall again!" To which Bellini answered, "Do not boast."
  • He reprimanded her when she became prideful
As her training progressed, Mirette heard tails of Bellini's past exploits on the high wire. She wants in, and begs to go with him on his next tour. But Bellini makes a sad confession. He has retired from his career on the high wire due to paralyzing fear.

After some time, and with the prompting of an ambitious talent agent, Bellini returns to the wire over a Paris city street. Mirette watches with baited breath as the Great Bellini takes a first step onto the wire and salutes the crowd. The crowd cheers wildly, but Mirette notices Bellini is frozen, refusing to take another step. Mirette freezes as well, then does what only a devoted protegee would do.

"She threw herself at the door behind her, ran inside, up flight after flight of stairs, and out through a skylight to the roof. She stretched her hands to Bellini. He smiled and began to walk toward her. She stepped onto the wire, and with the most intense pleasure, as she had always imagined it might be, she started to cross the sky.

"'Brava! Bravo!' roared the crowd.

"As for the master and his pupil, they were thinking only of the wire, and of crossing to the end."

Sometimes when we take the hand of a young protegee, he or she will one day reciprocate, guiding us across the high wire.

I'm committing to pour my life into the next generation. Will you join me in that?

Purposed For Him,



  1. I want to get that book! Thanks for such detail and for the associations with (or "to"?) real life. And also for the bios on your kids. By the way, if all goes well, my family will be back in town on Saturday night and we will be at Mosaic for Sunday service. Rodrigo, our 9 yr old son, is not athletic like your son Christian, although he enjoys being on a baseball team. He is pretty involved in cub scouts and absolutely LOVES drawing cartoons/ "comic strips" about everything, and could do that all day long if we let him... so, if Christian can welcome him to Time with the Children at Mosaic and have that in mind about his background, that would be awesome. Hopefullfy this time he will go with the kids (the time we went as a family he stayed with us during the whole service). He is the reason why we have taken our time making a change- because he loves the structure, kids and teachers at our current church (our twin 4 yr old girls are not a problem because they have each other). But OK. Just writing this because you may not be checking e-mails with your blog going full-blast. Hope last Sunday's service was great in the new location. See you soon!

  2. Thanks Zarina! I look forward to seeing your family at Mosaic! Enjoy your family when they're home!

  3. Yes! I'll join you in investing in the youth! Love it.