Priceless Scribbles

I recently came across a true story by Richard Fairchild that was published many years ago in the Christian Reader. It was called “Priceless Scribbles.” He tells about a father who touched his son’s life in a unique and unexpected way.

A young boy watched as his father walked into the living room. He noticed that his younger brother, John, began to cower slightly as their dad entered. The older boy sensed that John had done something wrong. Then he saw from a distance what his brother had done. The younger boy had opened his father’s brand new hymnal and scribbled all over the first page with a pen.

Staring at their father fearfully, both brothers waited for John’s punishment. You see their father was a minister.  Books were important to him.  Valuable.  Precious. To him, books were knowledge.  They both knew there would be a penalty for this offense.

Their father picked up his prized hymnal. Carefully looked at the scribbled page. Sat down. And didn’t say a word. What he did next was both remarkable and significant. Instead of punishing Johnny. Or scolding.  Or yelling.  Their father took the pen and from the little boy’s hand.  Picked up the book.  And alongside John’s scribbles wrote these words:

 “John’s work, 1959, age 2. How many times have I looked into your beautiful face and into your warm, alert eyes looking up at me and thanked God for the one who has now scribbled in my new hymnal. You have made the book sacred, as have your brother and sister for so much of my life.”

The author of the story relates how that hymnal became a treasured family possession.  For the rest of their lives it was tangible proof of their father’s love for them.

This touching story reminds us of the apostle Paul’s injunction to us Dads. “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4)

As men, we work hard to provide for our families.  We want to teach our children to respect property.  To be good stewards of their resources. Not to waste.  To understand the value of money.  We realize there is a time for discipline.  For correction.  Even for punishment.

Yet this story reminds us that people are more important than things.  Relationships should be valued over material possessions.  And that children often need our patience, not our frustration. Our mercy, not our judgment.  Our love, not our anger.

And it also reminds me that I have a Heavenly Father who is longsuffering, merciful and forgiving in spite of my mistakes.  My scribbles. And my blots and stains in the book of life. The Psalmist expressed it this way.  “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” (Ps 103:13-14).

Thank you, Lord,  for faithful Fathers who role model your loving-kindness and compassionate spirit.

Have a great day!  And enjoy your children’s priceless scribbles!

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

6 Comments

Filed under Children

6 responses to “Priceless Scribbles

  1. ann white

    reminds me of when our son was 4 and he scribbled on the wall with purple and orange crayons, and when i spoke to him about it, he said, “but, mom, i was decorating for halloween!” what could i say, i painted over the scribbling.

  2. Sandra Jo, church of Christ, Pine Bluff, AR

    Brother Ken, you have a very creative way of writing, in getting the meaning across to your readers. This is another good one I will send to others. If only we had been patient like that as young parents! My mother-in-law often told me that housework will always be there … waiting … but the children will grow up and leave the nest, so enjoy them NOW. She was sooo right!

  3. Regina

    This is something we need to be reminded of frequently! It is so easy to get frustrated with our children. They are so much more important than “things.” Thanks for the lesson!

  4. Reblogged this on ThePreachersWord and commented:

    Children are on my mind this week, as we enjoy time with our grandchildren. This post was penned 6 years ago, 2 years before the first one was born. It takes on special meaning this morning as I’ve been up since 5 AM trying to comfort little Katernine Joy and watch her attempt to scribble in one of my books! Enjoy!

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