The canvas of our children’s future, Part 1

The canvas of our children’s future, Part 1

Free Comic Book day arrived on Saturday May 6, 2017. We loaded up our kids and hit the road minus a stop over to help my in-laws move some furniture, a trip to the hardware store, and then to a local comic book shop to score a few free comics. My oldest son has just started to really learn how to read. I remember my childhood filled with stories and wanted him to share in that passion. Like his dad, he’s going through a passionate stage of infatuation with superheroes. I have yet to fully outgrow my own stage.

When I was a child I loved stories. Some of my favorite stories were those found in the 20-24 pages of various DC and Marvel comics. Year after year various writers and artists would add to the story. Yet, regardless of their additions at the end of the day the characters were still essentially who their author created and crafted them to be in their origin stories. How many of us can easily tell some version of the stories of Batman and Superman? Why is that we know these stories? These stories capture our imaginations in part because they have compelling origins and when done right they have not veered from the author’s original intent. Generally the most successful followup stories were crafted by various writers and artists that were students of the original author and illustrators. Later writers contributed to the long legacy of various believed character because of their faithfulness to keep the character in line with their origins.

Parents are the first contributors after God to help shape our children(s) origin stories. Good stories are often efforts in collaboration.  How amazing is that God calls us to collaborate with him? Jesus is the creator of our children1)see Psalm 139. Jesus longs to makes them into living masterpieces of God’s glory2)see Ephesians 2:10. The word masterpieces can also be translated as workmanship, the idea though is a work that reflects well on both the piece created and its Creator.. Sometimes I forget that ultimately I am not responsible for who my children become as they age. It’s true that we must be careful in how we raise our children. It is easy to see ourselves as the original creators of our children but God is the author of all life. I honestly can’t tell how many times I quote to my children, the Bill Cosby’s line, “I brought you in to this world, and I can take you out.” In reality though it’s my wife that did the majority of the work that brought our children in to the world and it is God that knows when and how they will be taken out of this world.

We certainly do our part in our children’s lives, but the blessing of life is a gift from God that individually crafts every single human soul– including our children. God is the master painter that is creating a masterpiece in our children’s lives. It is true that we are like painters that are constantly painting on the canvas of our children’s lives but we are merely doing the secondary touch-ups. We shape them primarily in their childhood but God is shaping them from conception till they enter eternity. One day they will leave us. Our hope should be that we laid a good foundation and contributed well to their development while under our care.

Art by Yale Stewart.
Young Batman and Superman art by Yale Stewart. Read JL8 for more of the young adventures.

Good comic artists consult with the original writer and often return to the source material to get inspiration for their part in adding to the narrative. God gives us the meta-narrative of all of human history in the Bible. Those of us that wish our children to grow and be wise would do well to often refer to their primary source material.

The purpose of the Bible though is not merely to help guide our children to turn out well. The primary purpose of the Bible is to point people to Jesus, who is goodness personified. We must be wise to constantly be in the process of daily bringing our children to Jesus. We must constantly point them past us to Jesus and encourage them to trust him to make them into the proverbial giants that they can become.

We must never give up on our children. We must never give up on Jesus. We must be bold and lead them to Jesus. We are in the business of painting on the canvas of our children’s future every day that they are with us. Let us paint well.

How do we do this well? Check back tomorrow for the canvas of our children’s future, Part 2.

References   [ + ]

1. see Psalm 139
2. see Ephesians 2:10. The word masterpieces can also be translated as workmanship, the idea though is a work that reflects well on both the piece created and its Creator.

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