“My time is being wasted here!”
So I picked up my two sons from school this afternoon and brought them back to my office so they could ride their bicycles in our parking lot (there’s not much traffic in the parking lot and I can see them both from my office windows). Well, my eight year old ended up getting a nosebleed–and, boy, was it a nosebleed! It was flowing and flowing and I shoved some tissue up his nostril to help it to stop bleeding and so he would not drip any blood anywhere else.
Now when I come to my office, it’s because I need to get my work completed. I feel like I have to rush every week anyway because my time is so limited due to other ministry duties. So when the nosebleed happened, I felt as if my time was going out the window because of it. In my agitation over “my time” being wasted with a nosebleed, I was ordering my Son to get his nose to stop bleeding by applying pressure where he ought to know already–especially as an eight year old who ought to be thinking like a forty-seven year old by now! (Of course I am joking about my eight year old acting like a forty-seven old.)
Even other people had the time to assist
Finally, his nose stopped bleeding. My Ministry Assistant told me to take him to the restroom and for him to give me his pants so she could clean the blood out with hydrogen-peroxide. My Associate & Student Pastor, a former emergency flight paramedic, helped with getting his nose to stop bleeding. And here I sat thinking that “my time” was being wasted.
After calming down from my agitation, my Son told me that his nose had stopped bleeding. I stared at him for a second or two and marveled at his stoicism. Here he is, an eight year old boy with a nosebleed, and here I am, a grumpy father who is endangering my son’s worldview by giving him a lesson in how to have a rotten attitude. For some odd reason, I forgot this verse:
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it. — Proverbs 22:6
What I learned from a nosebleed and a little boy
What I should have done was first show him sympathy instead of agitation. Agitation is simply another word for having an anger problem. Second, I should have recognized that my attitude stunk. Anytime my two Sons need me I should be mindful of their gentleness, their loving attitude toward me as their Dad, and the needs that they have to be loved no matter what situation comes up with them or me. Third, I need to remember that their worldviews are still being formed. We live in an already angry society; they certainly don’t need to learn that from me. Rather, they need to learn that no matter what happens in life–whether it’s good or bad–that they have a respite with their Dad in troublesome times. Finally, I need to remember that my Dad trained me in the way that I should go. I need to remember his patience and loving-kindness toward me. After all, my Dad knew the patience and loving-kindness that was given him by God the Father and by my Grandfather.
Nosebleeds and little boys: a lesson in forgiveness
After my Son’s nose stopped bleeding, I stared at him for a few seconds and said, “Son, I need to ask you for your forgiveness.” He asked, “For what, Dad?” “Son,” I replied, “I treated you unjustly while you had a nosebleed. You could not help that and I was agitated and wrong in my attitude toward you and your nose. Will you forgive me for my rotten attitude?” His answer, “Dad, it’s alright. I forgive you.”
The beauty of a nosebleed and little boy is his forgiveness of his father whose time belongs to him and his three-year old brother.