So, I am standing inside Frankie’s Fun Park for a couple of hours as Jacob plays in the “Fun House.” Parents such as myself are not allowed inside this two-story structure. We are left to watch through the mesh netting as our children wear themselves out.
While all the children explore the fun overhead, other games are afoot below. Sure there is a seating area where parents can sit and watch their children, but it’s kind of dark and feels like lounge in a casino.
Maybe it is because of the all the loud kiddy versions of slot machines in the adjacent area that spit out little tickets instead of coins. In fact, one three year old hit the “jackpot” on the submarine game and it spit out 1,000 tickets! His father’s face beamed with pride as he obviously considered this a sign of great things to come in his son’s life.
There is one television in the “lounge” and it was tuned to, of all things, golf. For me, watching golf on television is like watching a dead fly. Apologies to my friends who are golf fans. Actually, apology retracted. Golf is a silly game!
So, there we are. The parents in waiting. But where to wait? The bench seat we all sat on lost its comfort value exponentially as time went on. So, a pattern began of standing up and stretching our legs, walking around, and coming back to sit. At one point, we were all on our cell phones at the same moment.
But places to stand comfortably are limited. The primo place was against a perfectly positioned column which provided a great vantage point to keep an eye on the kids. Once you got that place, keep it! As soon as you move, another parent will take your spot. National Geographic could do a whole documentary on parents in this very unnatural habitat claiming territory like merekats. We just didn’t claw and scratch as much.
But to my shame, my son was doing something above that I should have been. A little two year old was in the Fun House and could not navigate his way to keep up with his older brother. My son, Jacob, stopped his play and helped this little one. He helped him climb over obstacles and navigate. He stayed with him until they caught up with the older brother.
But it wasn’t long before the little one was alone again and disoriented. Jacob found him and helped him come all the way out of the Fun House to get back to his mother and father in the “lounge” below. While I was selfishly worried about my boredom and where to stand or sit, Jacob was helping the “least of these.” How shameful that I did not redeem this time as well as he had.
My son reminded me of something important. Stop thinking about self and look for chances to serve. I missed opportunities to get to know the parents around me. I missed opportunities to share Christ while Jacob was being the hands and feet of Christ. Lord, forgive me.
In the meantime, my face beams with pride as I considered Jacob’s actions as a sign of great things to come in his life!