Letter in a Lunch Box (click to comment)


One reason why my wife Ramona and I get along so well, is that she has never been one to ask for the moon. In fact, I’m usually the one saying, “Honey, let’s put a marble staircase here,” and she will say, “Phil, we can’t even afford marbles.” One small victory she allowed me was the placing of a French door in the pantry. This, I reasoned, would give us the jump on children who like to hide in the pantry and scare us to death late at night. I was glad for that French door. Until the day my son smashed it. That’s right. I guess he was trying out a karate move he’d seen on TV.

“Go easy on him,” my wife urged me. “I just heard him praying: ‘Dear God, help Daddy not to kill me.'” As I contemplated my son’s punishment, my mind shot back to a phone call I had received that morning. A call that placed everything in perspective. An acquaintance of ours had died of a brain aneurysm, leaving behind a beautiful wife and daughter. My son was asleep now. Knowing I wouldn’t see him before I left in the morning, I wrote him a letter:

Dear Son,

So you think I’m gonna kill you? Well, you’re right. Meet me after school. Bring a bow, an arrow and an apple. I’m kidding. But here are three things I want you to remember: The door is smashed now. No amount of screaming will fix it. But our actions do cost us sometimes. So I’ve got some extra work for you to do around the yard. Your piggy bank will feel lighter, but so will you. I will always love you. Nothing you could ever smash could change this. But remember, the age for getting your driver’s license is now 29! A house isn’t as important as a home. A hundred years from now no one will care what our pantry door looked like. But I’m praying that we’ll get to hang out in heaven together, laughing about times like these and celebrating God’s grace.

I love you, Son.

After placing the note in my son’s lunch box, I entered his room and prayed one of my favourite Bible passages over him. “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. Amen.” (Numbers 6:24-26). Then I smashed his Lego castle! I’m kidding.

Mom and Dad. How do you respond to your kids mistakes? When they blow it, do you blow it? I certainly have. But I’m learning to put it into perspective. To hold them accountable while extending to them the grace that God has shown me. So let’s extend some Grace today. And if you have any stories about your own mischievous kids, tell us about them in the comment section. We’d love to hear from you.

Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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