My son is of the age when toys are no longer toys as much as they are necessities. That’s how he approaches me with whatever new trinket has caught his eye—“It’s not just that I want this, Dad. I NEED it.”
Rarely works, of course. No ten-year-old boy NEEDS a basketball hoop, not when there’s one on the street just next door for anyone to use, or a new video game, or a Nerf gun that will end up in the grass by the creek, forgotten.
For the past month, it’s been a cell phone. His reasoning has been strong—I’m not home right after school some days, you might need to call or check in, that sort of thing. He’s wise enough to leave out the real reason (all of his friends have one; they look like cyborgs, faces always stuck in some sort of screen). But his sister has a phone, and, well, every kid comes born with an instinctual knowledge that if you can’t convince your parents, you can always wear them down.
So: a cell phone. He carried it home from the store last week with all the care and love as a father would bring his firstborn. Not a smartphone (he couldn’t wear us down that much), but the sort that can only call and text, the kind my son associates with the uncool and the elderly.
Thus far, all has gone well. The phone hasn’t gone lost, hasn’t ended up in the grass by the creek. He hasn’t used it to call Brazil or Kuala Lumpur. But my son does text. My son texts a lot. And, for whatever reason, mostly to me.
They come in the mornings especially, when I’m on my way to work. A steady stream of smiley faces and winks that always end with HAVE A GOD DAY. Great kid, my boy, even if he is a little spelling-challenged. He says he’s still getting the hang of typing with his thumbs. But his texts to me? He says he reads those twice before he hits send, making sure every letter and word is right. Which means my son doesn’t want me to have a GOOD day at all. He wants me to have a GOD one.
I told him that sounded just fine but that I didn’t know what a God day was. Turns out, he has them all the time.
My son says a God day usually starts out like any other, meaning you still don’t want to get out of bed. But then you do, you get up and get dressed and have breakfast, and that’s when the God day starts—when you go out—because my son says you need God in your bed but you need Him in the world especially.
On a God day, you pay more attention to how the sun is coming up over the mountains than you do all the traffic. And when you have to stop for the train, you don’t mumble things you’re not supposed to near as much as you wave to the engineer and the people you’re stuck there with.
On a God day, you say hi to everyone and ask them how they are, because that’s what people need.
On a God day, you always do your best no matter what it is. That doesn’t mean you’ll always succeed (“This isn’t a fairy tale, Dad,” my son says), but failing doesn’t hurt near as bad if you know you tried.
On a God day, you pray. A lot.
On a God day, you always laugh at least five times, because even if the world is full of sadness, that doesn’t mean your heart has to be that way, too.
On a God day, you come home and hug the ones you love, because they’re the best things God has given you and that’s why you need to take care of them.
I like that. I think my son’s onto something. So no matter who and where you are and what’s going on in your life, I hope you have a God day.