“Dad, Do You Drink Beer?”
Our family of five just spent the last nine days on vacation and during that time I fielded a litany of questions. The one I remember the most is this one: “Dad, do you drink beer?”
It stuck with me because it seemed a very strange question in light of the fact that my most extensive beer experience was a mere tasting back in high school.
Why then did Luke ask me a question that seemed out of the blue?
On the way to our vacation destination and while we were there, he observed multiple people drinking beer. Children notice and hear more than we realize and so seeing a decent amount of beer consumed he must have wondered if his dad was secretly doing what he saw others doing.
And so I answered him this way: “Son, have you ever seen me drink a beer?” To which he responded, “No.” To which I asked, “Son, do you think daddy hides things from you?” To which he responded, “No.” To which I stated, “Son, mommy and daddy don’t hide things from you because we want you to trust us. We don’t sneak around doing things that you don’t know about, and if ever you have other questions about what we do and don’t do, you can ask about that also. Okay?”
This little story is not primarily about whether I think it is wrong to drink beer or other kinds of alcohol. We already have and will continue to talk to both of our sons about the dangers of drinking and why we convictionally choose not to drink – though we are in some ways free to do so. The point is that my son wondered whether I was being completely honest with him about what I was saying and what I was doing, and so he wanted to know whether I was being consistent. I looked him in the eye and told him that he could trust me because what he heard and saw is what is real.
I don’t know if it was a memorable moment for him or not, but for me it was a powerful moment to be able to say to my son, “You can trust your dad on this.”
I want to be as consistent as I can in parenting the children God has given.
I want them to trust us and I want them to feel free to ask questions. Even hard ones.
I want to be able to look each of them in the eye and say, “We don’t attempt to hide things from you. You can trust us.”
These parenting aspirations were strengthened in me as the result of a simple and honest question. May God use them for His great glory and the good of my children.