Sitting in my office today, I noticed this picture of my son in his then brand new tree-house, taken maybe five or six years ago. Since that time, despite my friend and I building the house with an extra-tall roof, the lad has outgrown the tree-house. Both physically and developmentally, he has just outgrown climbing up into that small space for imagination and play. When I was a kid, I used to dream about having a tree-house and making all kind of great memories of adventure in it. While I never did get that tree-house, my son did. Seems as if time is up for him to make those memories. I wonder what stories he would share with you, if you asked him about his time in it. What memories did he make? What lessons did he learn? What impact did his experiences up in that little tin-roofed shelter make upon him?
A couple of years ago, I got an app on my phone that was being promoted through our church. It’s called Legacy Marble Countdown, and it is built on the simple concept that if you were to put a marble in a jar for every week you get to invest in your child from birth to high school graduation, you would begin with 936 marbles before they steadily dwindled away over the weeks and years of his or her life in your house. It seems the Tree-House Jar is now empty of marbles. Those lessons and experiences are now over, and exist only in his memory. According to my app, as of this posting, I have 255 marbles left in the Home Jar. 255 weeks until he moves that tassel from one side of his funny little flat hat to the other side, walks down off that stage, and moves on to whatever horizon God may lead him. Mercy! Since the time that tiny little rascal came home from the hospital, we have already spent nearly 3/4 of the time we will have together before he formally steps forth from our home as a man facing the world on his own two feet.
May my wake-up call today be yours, as well. Let us invest intentionally, courageously, lovingly, and wisely. Let us teach, encourage, train, correct, inspire, share, uplift, and coach our teens in preparation for the years that lie beyond wearing the silly hat with the tassel. Let us mold their hearts and minds with the Word of God. Let us fill their spirits with love and encouragement. Let us train them in the skills they will need to live lives of purpose and independence. And let us do so before we lose our marbles. Because, let’s be honest…some of us may be getting closer to that day than we realize. 😉