All I have to do is say the word ice cream and I have my son’s undivided attention. He likes strawberry flavor and he calls it his pink ice cream. A while ago he had his first ice cream cone. It’s simple moments like this that create lasting impressions for both daddy and son. My heart was filled with joy when I saw his delight over a cone of ice cream. It’s so life changing for me to know that I’m the one responsible for his fundamental growth and well being.
Drip drip drop!”Oh son the ice cream is melting. Hurry up and lick it. Look on that side! See it? There it goes! Don’t let it spill!”To be perfectly honest I wasn’t at complete ease and it was hard just to watch him eat it. The summer heat was making mince meat of this ice cream cone and I didn’t want to see him make a mess. But in the end it worked out okay it just required about twenty-five wipes. So a few days after my sons first ice cream cone I started on a painting project for the carport. When I told him what I was planning to do it was very clear that he wanted to help me paint.
Images like these two boys instantly pop in my head when I hear, “Daddy can I help you? Daddy?” It was a challenge for me just to watch him eat an ice cream cone so how could I put a paint brush in his hand and expect to feel any better? But I gave in to his eagerness and let him help. The challenge would be how to get him through this job without getting paint from his head to his tiny toes. And then all of the sudden it hit me. ICE CREAM!!!
How similar ice cream and paint are to each other. They both get sticky and kids make their parents a nervous wreck with it . This relatable fact would prove to be important when it came time to teach him about painting. So keeping it simple on this project was the key sticking point. LOL. I mean how do you teach a three year old not to get paint everywhere? His attention span is like a fly on the wall. He’s always doing one thing and then quickly on to the next. Painting requires you to pay attention and to take it slow or else things get sloppy. Working with a three year old was not my idea of having fun but this made life more interesting. We began our little father and son project and I noticed he could hardly wait to start so I offered up a crash course of painting 101. As I dipped the paint brush in the pan I looked down at him and said, “now baby, to keep it from dripping too much you have to hold it up like an ice cream cone.” He smiled as if something clicked in his head and carefully grabbed the paint brush. I guess most kids understand the language of ice cream.
The father son relationship is about making eternal impressions that go deep and then realizing how it makes a real difference in their approach to the future. This takes careful building of their body, soul and mind. From the very start I lifted my son up to God with a prayer of dedication and surrender to guide him in his walk even though I think he might fall flat on his face. One day he will fall in love, have a family and once again the paint brush will be passed under the watchful eye of a loving father down to the eager hands of his trusting son.
The relationship I have with my son reminds me of my dad and the lasting impressions he made on me. He knew how to speak my language too. When I was around 9 years old he would take me across town to the convenient store where he bought his beer. Yep, I know this sounds bad but this trip wasn’t just about his favorite brand. The store advertised their adult beverages as “the coldest beer in town.” And you better believe it was. During our ride over to get his refreshments I would scooch next to dad with an anxious grin and enjoy my time with him. And on those summer days dad’s old Ford crate truck glowed with a bright orange glare that shined like a hot rocket screaming through a scorched sky. It was all a young boy could ever want.
I was happy during those hot rides to the corner store because the place with the coldest beer in town also had the coldest Coca Cola in town. The many times I walked in this store my eyes immediately focused on the huge silver coolers filled to the brim with cold icy water. But there was treasure in there that would wet the appetite of any sugar starved little boy. Dad would always say, “go reach in and grab you a cold drink.” Picking one from the top was not an option because after all that was no fun and way too easy. I was going for the gusto. I felt like a penguin diving head long into a barrel of fish. As I reached deep into the belly of the ice monster I went digging for pure gold. And I didn’t come up empty handed. In my cold frosty grip was a tall bottle of Coca Cola. Beads of ice started dripping down the glass and fell to the water soaked floor below. It was messy. Apparently I wasn’t the only one thirsty that day. Right there I went bottoms up on that belly washer and just thinking about it still gives me chills. It would have been the perfect commercial for Coke. You know, I cherish those memories with my dad just like I do with my son now. But it’s never about that bottle of coke or an ice cream cone.
Our life’s work for God can sometimes get messy but we can avoid having too much clean up if we listen to God first. It’s the same concept when I try to show my son how not to get paint from head to toe. Did telling my son how to hold the paint brush work? Let’s just say his mother wasn’t too upset after we got done. It works the same way with God. His divine instruction is a manual for how to tread carefully and proceed with caution on our pathway. On my own personal walk with God I am guilty of painting with the brush strokes of a foolish heart and a know-it-all attitude which led to my wayward drops of discontent. But when Jesus says, “I will be thou clean”, I believe him just as the leper did. No matter our acts of defilement, Jesus blood will cleanse.
Painting of Jesus and the Leper
God has a certain palette with supernatural colors that have been hand picked by Him and it leads to your perfection in Him. And when we take the brush from the Father’s hand we should be ready to paint prayerfully and carefully. The Father awaits with joy for us to listen to the words of His wisdom and when we do He beams with pride and satisfaction. After the carport was painted I looked at my son and said, “great job, we’re finished.” God has something for all of us to do and he will be faithful to perform that good work in us till the very end. Pick up that brush and paint. It might get messy, but don’t worry. God is there to remind you to hold it like an ice cream cone.