I always find it funny when a young girl wears her mother’s clothes or shoes. In the country church where I pastor, there are two teenage girls who consistently wear something I saw on their mother recently: jewelry, shoes, or some accessory. I knew of one young lady who feels such confidence in her mother’s modest taste of clothes they share each other’s entire wardrobes. 

Young ladies are not the only culprits when it comes to borrowing their parents’ clothes. Recently, I preached a funeral for a family who needed some additional pallbearers. I asked Drew, my teenage son, to help out -- figuring that his 6’, 180lb frame would be adequately equipped for the job. When he emerged from my bedroom wearing my most expensive suit, I realized that it was happening to me too. 

I am thankful, though, that my children and I continue to have more things in common as time passes (even clothes). As a parent, you look forward to the day your children will share interest in your talents, gifts, and hobbies. After all, they are your flesh and bone, and they should automatically inherit some of the same interests you have... shouldn’t they? You bet!

One evening, while my wife was at a Ladies Missionary Fellowship meeting, I organized a family activity I thought would burn a minimal amount of energy: Art! I gathered up about 20 sheets of paper and a plastic shoebox full of colored pencils while my five-year-old daughter collected magic markers from various “hiding places” around the house. Within minutes our dining room table was accommodating four aspiring artists: Meghan, Ethan (my six-year-old son), Aidan (my eight-year-old son) and me (the 40-something daddy). 

After seeking some inspiration in a few Ideals magazines, I resurrected my long-forgotten artistic skills to sketch a weathered old barn resting on a rock foundation. Not too bad, I thought as I colored my thumbnail sketch. Those painting lessons my parents financed for me back in the summer of 1974 really did pay off. I bet I could make good money as an artist. Just then, my fifteen-year-old walked into the room

“Hey Dad, what’s that?” 

“Oh...Uhhh, nothing, I’m just grading Meghan’s art paper...” (shuffle, shuffle).

“Da-ad, did you draw that?” (enter: Dane my thirteen year old son). 

“Uh, yep, you guessed it,” I replied with waning confidence. 

“Cool barn! What’s that junk behind it?” 

“I don’t know, Dane. I thought it would resemble a tree with enough wax build-up.” 

“Oh.”

I thought I saw my two teenagers roll their eyes and wink at each other...what do they know about quality art?

Soon it was time to get the three little ones off to bed. It was then I discovered that while me and my older sons were talking about childish things, my understudies were creating complete portfolios. Aidan drew several landscapes -- one of Mt. Calvary with its three lonely crosses. Ethan produced one detailed pencil sketch of two American fighter planes bombing four United States Army tanks (do we need to talk about this?). Meghan, my sweet princess, drew, colored, and markered in mass-production. Her works were the most avant-garde designs I’ve ever seen. Suddenly, Picasso made sense to me.

What surprised me more than the artwork was the realization that, through their art, each child demonstrated an interest in something that either my wife Jennifer or I love.

In a variety of ways our passions and talents are becoming a common bond -- a source of mutual communion. I began to ponder all the things my wife and I enjoy doing; Jenny enjoys, singing, sewing, baking, quilting, scrap-booking, gardening, game playing, and puzzle building. I like sketching, riding horses, playing my cello, writing, and hiking. Together, we both enjoy playing piano, cooking, reading, camping and serving the Lord. Each of our children possess some of those talents, gifts, but in varying quantities and forms. I don’t really know if it’s “in the genes” or not, but God has given us a wonderful ability to connect with each of our children in a positive, non-competitive way. What an immense joy. 

My eyes opened that night at the dining room table when God brought four obscure artists together. But I also realize the true beauty of parenting goes even deeper. When I was born-again, I was given something that could produce a more powerful bond than mere genetics, earthly talents or gifts: the ability to share my faith in Christ.