My dad was the bookends to my day.
Every morning he hugged my sisters and me and told us he loved us. Every night after he said goodnight, he’d say, “Say your prayers.”
These two things were constant my whole life until my dad passed away.
These two things framed not just my day, but my life.
When we were little, my dad would sneak into our bedrooms and say his goodbyes in the morning. As teenagers, he would knock on the bathroom door and wait. Three girls with blow dryers and hairspray coating the bathroom walls would stop and open the door for Dad. Sometimes he would have to knock a few times before the door opened, but he always waited.
He always waited.
He never just left it for another day. It was important to him to do this every day.
And so, I was important. I was worth waiting for.
I never had to question my dad’s love for me. I never had to question my worth.
I never searched for love in others. I never ran after people trying to fill a hole that had been left empty. My day started full.
At night, my dad would tell us girls, “Say your prayers.” When he would go on hunting trips in the Fall, he would send postcards back to us and they would always end with “listen to your mother and say your prayers.”
And we did.
Because it was important to him, it was important to us.
He knew how the day has a way of beating you down. That there are concerns and fears and anxieties that need to be lifted off of you. He knew they needed to be laid down. He knew how it does the soul good to give thanks for the day and the many blessings that came your way. He knew how important it was to be grateful and to count your blessings.
This constant reminder to pray became a habit in my own life. A habit that led me to discover my own relationship with God. I found out for myself the power of prayer.
Sometimes as parents, we feel like we never have enough time with our kids. We go to work and they go to school. We don’t get them during the day. We feel guilty that we don’t spend enough time with them. Maybe we wonder if what we say or do even matters to them. But the things we do consistently add up. Those little things make lasting impressions.
We can let them know before they go out in the morning that they matter a whole lot. We can assure them of their place in this world as valuable and worth the wait. We can let them leave us full. Full of confidence that they are loved and supported.
We can let them know each night that they don’t have to carry the burdens and worries of this life alone. There is One who cares for our souls and ministers to the heart in mysterious ways like only the Creator can.
We can be the bookends to their day.
This article originally appeared on The Messy Christian
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