By Jim Mitchell

 “Daddy, you wanna hear me count to ten million?” 

Not a question I expected or necessarily even wanted to hear from my five-year-old.

“Um… well… no, not really,” I was tempted to say (lovingly, of course).

Maybe you’re a mom and for you… a question like this is precious!  But I’m a dad and after a long work day, it’s most definitely not precious.  “Let’s see, what’s the best way to waste time tonight?  Ooh, I know, let’s count to ten million.”

I’m pretty sure my 5-year-old can’t even count to ten million, much less do it fast enough to fit the jammed schedule I had planned for the evening:

  • Put on comfortable clothes?  Yep.
  • Eat dinner?  Uh-huh.
  • Watch playoff basketball game?  Now you’re talking!

Count to ten million?  Negative.  I could hear it already.  “One, two, three, four, five, um… wait, I’m starting over.”

Oh sure, you’re probably more spiritual than me.  Cast the first stone if you must.  But most of you with young kids can relate.  They’re growing fast and learning about things too big for them.  So they look to you for help sorting it all out.  You want to be a great parent, but time and energy run short.

You can devotionalize experiences like this and learn a lot from God about spiritual life and parenting.  Read more about that here: (click here)

On this occasion, though, I think God just wanted me to feel like a parent and to make a choice.  My choice whether to count to ten million or not was really a choice between my son and me… between self-sacrifice and self.  And that’s always the rub isn’t it?

To be fair, a tired mom or dad may actually need to choose rest over the kids.  But for me it’s usually not that complicated, and I still pick me more often than not.  But sometimes I make the better choice.

I have no idea who won the basketball game.  But I’ll never forget the time I discovered that my 5-year-old son really does know how to count to ten million.

Who knew?