“I hate teenagers.”

I was in a well-known big-box store two days ago, standing in the check-out line, waiting patiently for my turn as the lady in front of me wrangled with the cashier over the advertised price of a toy she had planned on buying.  It appears the price on the shelf and the price the computer came up with were two different numbers and naturally the customer expected the lower number to prevail.  They got it settled (she didn’t buy the toy), she was on her way, and it was my turn.

Now, I’m a give-them-the-benefit-of-the-doubt kind of person and maybe this cashier was at the end of her shift, but she just looked worn out.  She looked to be in her 20’s–maybe even early 20’s, she was overweight, unkempt, and overall kind of homely looking.  The recent entanglement with that last customer surely didn’t help her attitude, so I tried to step up and be extra cheery. As she rung up the 2 or 3 items I had placed on the conveyor belt, 2 teenager girls  stepped up to be next in line to check-out behind me.  With no trace of a smile, the cashier pointed to her lane number which was NOT lit and said, “I’m closing.”  With no discernable response from the 2 teen girls, she repeated herself but this time a little louder: “I’m CLOSing.”  The 2 girls looked at the cashier, looked at each other, rolled their eyes and walked away.

Then the cashier looked at me, somehow with even less of an expression than she previously had and mouthed the words, “I HATE teenagers.”  Without missing a beat, I cheerfully replied, “Well I LOVE them! But I’m a youth pastor, so there you go.”  I continued, “But lots of people feel like you do, so you’re not alone.”  (Whatever kind of twisted solace that was.)

Most of the ills in our society can be traced back to the teenage years.  I want to be sure you don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.  I’m not vilifying teenagers, not at all.  I’m simply saying that a huge chunk of who you are, how you think, what you feel about others, and your overall worldview started in your formative teen years.  And like it or not, for most people it sticks around well into adulthood and for many even to the grave.

Think about it: most habits you have (that make up your much of your “identity”) began in the teen years.  Did you know the average age for a new smoker is 13?  About half of all teens graduating high school have reported to have already had sexual intercourse.  And half of THOSE did so under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

Also, as we have progressed technologically as a society, we have ushered teens into a “have it now, have it all” mentality.  With our amazing modern conveniences, we have seen nearly stride-for-stride a moral compromise.  The word “could” has reached the level of “should”.  In other words, if a cell phone is within my reach, I should have one of my own.  After all, my friends all have one.  If a Facebook page is the social norm, then I should have one of my own.  If every pair of jeans I see walking around appears to be painted on, then I should also have mine painted on.  Its the word that has unfortunately become commonplace when talking about teens today: entitlement.

And this is why I LOVE working with, serving, teaching, and loving teenagers.  Because I get the extraordinary privilege and responsibility (and sometimes challenge and headache) of showing them a far better way to think about life, view life, and live life.  I get a front row seat to watch teenager after teenager come to the realization that not only are they not the most important thing on the planet, they’re not even in the top 3.  I get to watch them open their eyes to the reality that while God loves them, died for them, forgives them, and lives within them, their happiness is not His #1 priority.  And they embrace that.

That’s why I meant what I said to that cashier.  I truly do LOVE teenagers.  Not because they’re always fun to be around, or because they’ve got everything (or anything) figured out, or because they’re respectful.  It’s simply because I know that once they see the awesome potential that God has placed within them and they surrender that to Him, they’ll be unstoppable forces of God’s grace and redemption on earth.


I’m not a legalist.  I’m just putting that out there.  I’m not a follower of Jesus who’s in it for the comfort of rules and order.  I think Christians get far too well known for our proverbial “Don’ts” than for anything else.  There are people living right now who reject Jesus and (more accurately) Christians/Christianity because it seems most like a long list of what you’re not allowed to do.  So, before I get into what I’m about to say I want to say first that I hate the fact that I’ve had to say what I just said.  Now that that’s out of the way…

Something happened to me recently that has started/restarted a conversation with myself (yet another) about a specific issue; the issue of practical holiness or as some refer to it as “sanctification”.  I’d like to add to that “daily sanctification”.  Here’s what happened to me:  We recently signed up for Blockbuster’s “Combo Pass” which allows us to take out any movie or video game from our local Blockbuster store for any amount of time.  (If you’re thinking that a pastor shouldn’t be a member at Blockbuster, you might be a legalist.  If you’re not sure, reread the first paragraph.)  The Combo Pass allows us to take any movie or game out, one at a time, and keep it from anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks.  When we return it, we trade it in for any other item we’d like.  There’s a flat monthly fee and since we use Blockbuster a bit and since the monthly fee for this month is 50% off ($7.50 for the  month), we thought we’d give it a shot.  In a nutshell, we’ve used it to the hilt.

So, a couple of Friday’s ago I had the day off.  All the kids were in school, my wife was at work, and I was essentially on my own to do whatever I felt like doing.  I decided that I’d head to Blockbuster and get a video game to play.  I thought I’d try that “Black Ops” game everyone seems to be abuzz over, but when I looked over the selection, I decided on what I thought would be a bit tamer: Goldeneye 007 (A James Bond movie-based game).  With a few hours to kill and a video game under my arm, I headed home.

I put the game into the machine and was soon underway on my first spy mission.  Goldeneye is known as a “FPS”-style game, or “first person shooter” game.  The screen is filled with the images I would see as I walk through bunkers, up stairs, and around corners on my way to the rendezvous point.  Graphically, it was pretty cool.  But as anyone who plays or knows FPS games can tell you, the word “shooter” in the title is pretty much the whole point of the game.  So, as I glided, ducked, and snuck my way through the game’s first level, I had to–ahem–shoot people.

I could really draw this out, but I’ll just cut right to the chase.  Within about 30 minutes of playing this “first person shooter” game, I began to feel physically ill.  I quickly concluded that the stress of the game, the imagery of the shooting, the pressure of the mission, and the overall fantastical experience of being that shooter for 30 minutes had truly been detrimental to my mind, and quite literally my body as well.

I returned the game to Blockbuster within a couple hours of picking it up and the whole experience soon faded from my mind.  That is, until today.

I knew that today would be the day I’d cut the grass and for me, every chore is better with music.  So, I fired up my Pandora radio (built into my phone), chose the “80s Throwback, 90s Comeback” station, yanked the cord on the mower and started out on the work at hand.  I listened to the likes of Bon Jovi, John Cougar Mellencamp, and GNR.  And it was during that second Guns ‘N Roses song that I began to notice something.  Not quite as acute as my 007 incident, but I could have sworn that I had literally begun to feel “down”.  I can’t say that it was entirely physical though there was an element of that.  I suppose its best described as a “soul blah”.   Now I want to restate right here that I don’t think people who listen to secular music are bound for hell because they listen to secular music.  In fact, I own and enjoy several albums of non-Christian musicians.  Its just that I can’t deny the effect that this music was having on me.  Recalling my half hour as James Bond, I decided that right then and there I would stop the mower, change the station to one that played Christian/worship music and see what happened.  Guess what?  I almost instantly began to feel lifted, stronger, and overall better.  Again, I’m not proposing that Christian music is magical; I’m only conveying MY experience right there in my yard this morning.

As a man who decided over 20 years ago to turn it all over to Jesus and His Lordship of my life, I must confess to you that as I get older, I see a direct connection between His Lordship and my sense of peace and ease.  Not at all that full surrender brings full bliss and problem-free living, but rather that full surrender brings confidence and certainty while the opposite brings, well, the opposite.  The Bible puts it this way, “You will keep him in perfect peace who’s mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”  (Isaiah 26:3)

Daily sanctification is the result of the day-to-day choices we make as to who we’re going to follow.  Those choices reflect our heart, for better or for worse.  And while its arguable that video games and music choices play a minor role in our overall holiness, I’d submit that they play just as much an integral a part as any other choice we can make; from running that red light to stealing that item to committing that adultery to ending that life.  How can we dismiss some choices, claiming they have no bearing on the choices we’d call bigger?  Doesn’t each small drop of rain contribute to the torrential downpour?

So, based on my experiences as of late with gaming and music and if I were to make a decision on those isolated alone, I’d have to say that filling my eyes, mind, and ears with things that don’t make God the center draw me farther from Him and likewise filling my eyes, mind, and ears with things that do make God the center draw me closer to Him.

The conversation opens when I realize (because its true) that there are plenty of Jesus-following, God-honoring people who are reading this post and love first-person-shooter games.  And there are people who love Jesus and are listening to Guns ‘N Roses while reading my blog.  And again, if you think they’re not really Christians then you need to go back and re-reread my first paragraph because you may need to check yourself for legalism.

Instead of drawing this all up with a nice bow, I’d like to invite YOUR thoughts on the effects in YOUR life of “secular” media choices; gaming, television, music, movies, etc.   This is a great opportunity for any who have been faithful readers but who have never posted a comment to do so!  All I ask for is honesty and respect for others viewpoints.


The relationship between the sovereignty of the Almighty and the free will of the unmighty (that’s us–no offense) is one that is confounding, to say the very least.  The fact that God who “has the whole world in His hands…” lets me have a say in anything, let alone the trajectory of my life is nothing less than miraculous.  But He does.  And excuse my French, but I think that rocks.


It’s been a day of serendipity.  Let me first define serendipity then I’ll tell you how I saw it.

Serendipity is an interjection of the divine providence with the human circumstance, looking like sheer coincidence.  I just now made that up, so let me take a sec and flesh it out: We’re doing our thing, going about our free-will day, when suddenly God intersects with us to show us that even though we’re free to do as we wish, He’s not going to sit idly by and not let us see Him working too.

I happened to be walking past a couple people that attend our church as they sat in the lobby cafe this morning, so I stopped by to chat.  As we talked, I (unknowingly) mentioned something that they apparently were just discussing.  I then mentioned that me walking by and sharing what I did must have been by “divine appointments”.  To be honest, I was pretty light-hearted and kind of joking about the whole thing.  Thinking not much more of it, I said my so-longs and walked off.  More on that later.

A couple hours later I had a lunch meeting with someone that was practically a stranger.  We met quite by “accident” several weeks ago when I happened to read a comment he wrote under an online article written by a friend of mine.  Turns out, that “friend of mine” (Kent) was in fact a “friend of ours”.  His name is Chris.  In his comment, he mentioned he lived in the Richmond area.  I like meeting people, so I also commented on our friend’s article and in a completely unsolicited way pretty much said that Chris and I ought to try and get together.  (Is that creepy?)  He almost immediately invited me into a small group of businessmen that he meets with weekly for the purpose of goal-setting and goal-getting; a “success accountability” type of group.  My schedule doesn’t jive with when they meet but as he said in an email, “I’d love to get together for lunch. I think there’s a reason we connected. We should probably find out what it is.”  Well put I thought.  By the way, if you’d like to read Chris’ blog, head over to www.mysimpleinspiration.com after you’re done here.

So, today we meet for lunch at a Mexican place on Forest Hill Ave.  I was immediately struck by his sharpness.  He quickly reminded me of a video shoot years ago that I was in and I guess all I can say about that is that his face and name fell victim to my steel trap memory; the steel trap that is rusted open.  Sorry, Chris.  No offense.   Like I said, this guy is sharp.  Not just professionally, but personally.  Chris is well-spoken, articulate, and genuine.  He knows what he’s after and is definitely going after it.  Best of all, he loves Jesus.  I thoroughly enjoyed our lunch together and before we parted company, we both agreed that we should definitely get together again.  And I know we will.

So imagine making a comment on an onilne article and as a result you end up at lunch with a near-perfect stranger only to realize that you are in many ways “in the same boat” (interests/aspirations) and there are innumerable ways this new friendship could potentially be mutually beneficial; not to mention just down-right fun.  And the icing on this “coincidence” cake is that our desire to live lives surrendered to God’s power and leading is our greatest common thread.  Hello, serendipity.  Nice to meet you.

Okay, so we say goodbye with an eye on another lunch this fall and I head back to my office.  Not long after sitting down my phone rings.  Remember those two people from the cafe this morning?  Sure you do.  Well, one of them had told me before leaving the cafe that he wanted his son to definitely go on our upcoming high school fall retreat.  He wasn’t sure how it was going to be paid for, but he really wanted to make it possible somehow.  I assured him as he walked away, “It’ll work out.”  He was calling me to tell me that just today a friend called out of the blue and asked him to lunch.  At lunch the friend wanted to know how his son was doing and was there anything he needed.  This father shared openly about his son’s desire to go on the fall retreat and right there the person pulled out a check and gifted him with the entire amount.

Remember that “It’ll work out.”?  Sure you do.  Hello, serendipity.  Nice to see you again!

You can go ahead and chalk all this up to coincidence, but simpleton that I am, I choose to give a loving Heavenly Father credit where credit is due.  Thank God that He cares deeply about what’s going on in your life and even gives you and I the privilege of showing us how much.

Getting Up Right

I’m a pretty good waker-upper.  I might lay in bed for a minute or two after opening my eyes, but I’m not a grouchy, leave-me-alone, just-another-five-minutes, for-the-love-of-Mike-I’m-gonna-kill-that-alarm-clock kind of morning person.  For the most part, I’m an up-and-at-’em kind of person.  And while genetics might play some part of that, I really don’t think they do at all.

I’d like to suggest that today is the only day God is interested in.  So when I wake up every morning, I want/need to see it as one more opportunity to participate in something God is intimately interested in.  I look at my day as a one-day extension of my time in the mission field.  I look at my day as one more day to enjoy the mystery of having a relationship with the Creator of everything I see, while still understanding that I can’t see Him…yet.  When I open my eyes and I’m still alive, I consider this a message from God that essentially says, “Okay Jerry, let’s do this one more time. From the top.”  In reality, each day is gifted to me to do with as I wish.  To squander, to waste, to destroy, or to benefit from–and hopefully to benefit others in.

I typically have several things in my mind that are effective at getting me up and out of bed.  Here they are in no particular order:

  1. The coffee is on.  Even having given up sugar long ago, I still enjoy a morning cup ‘o joe.  There’s just something about it.
  2. Along with my coffee is my Bible reading. Lately I think I’m “o.d.”ing on devotions.  I’ll start off with Dennis Kinlaw’s “This Day With The Master”, follow it up with John MacArthur’s “The Quest for Character” (a study on the Beattitudes), then a healthy dose of straight Bible (currently working my way through Genesis & Job again).  After that, I’ll head into the New Testament and just go where the wind blows (usually the epistles somewhere; they drip with practicality).
  3. Thoughts of what must be done today.  Like I said, I think God is only interested in today.  Given His eternality, how can he be anything but?  God doesn’t plan for tomorrow.  God doesn’t even have a tomorrow.  Not only that, but Jesus warned about looking too far into the future because tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone.  Matthew 6:34 is a great example of Jesus’ teaching on this.  2 Cor. 6:2 is also a great verse that emphasizes the “now”.  So, I try and keep my thoughts to what must be accomplished TODAY.  Does that mean I don’t plan for the future?  Does that mean I’m not thinking about the details of next week, next month, or next year?  Absolutely not.  I simply keep my focus on what’s directly in front of me.  It’s ALWAYS plenty for the time I have today.
  4. The simple yet profound joy in my life.  I am a guy who is blessed beyond measure and who knows it.  My wife is smokin’ hot and is in love with Jesus which makes her even hotter.  My kids are by no means perfect, but they’re perfect for me.  I can’t describe how blessed I am that they call me “Dad”.  Everyday I get to do exactly what I love–student ministry–the thing that I feel I was born to do.  And the people I serve with and minister to seem to like having me around.  I know it more than anyone else: I’m unbelievably fortunate to live this life I’m living.  And I don’t take it for granted.  But that sense of joy of life is like a springboard that flings me out of bed.

What are YOUR first morning thoughts?  Do you utter a prayer?  Do you wake up joyful or stressed?  Do you have a routine that helps set your day?  I’d love to hear from you about what your waking moments (and what follows) look like!

Yank. Yank. Yank.

After returning from a week and a half vacation on the Gulf of Mexico (the non-oily part), our yard needed some TLC.  So the Hotness and I teamed up.  She grabbed the mower and I grabbed the gas powered weed whacker/trimmer.  She started the mower up and went merrily on her way.  I grabbed the weed whacker, flipped the switch to “cold start”, pushed the rubber bubble to prime the engine, and yanked the cord.  And yanked.  Yank.  Yank.  Yank.  Yank.  Yank.  (“Man, it’s hot out here.”)  Yank.  Yank.  Yank. Yank.  (“Arrggghhhh.”)  Yank.  Yank.  Yank.

What in the world?  I’ve had a slight problem starting up my trimmer in the past, but never like this.  This was absurb.  I thought, “Okay, I’ll take a break and get some plyers for when I need to change the line on the trimmer later. That’ll give the engine a chance to reconsider its obstinance.”  So, I went inside, got the plyers, came back outside, stared down that trimmer, and tried again.  Yank.  Yank.  Yank.  Yank.  Yank.  Yank.  (“Man, is this getting frustrating.”)  Yank.  Yank.  Yank.  (“My arm hurts.”)  Yank.  Yank.  Yank.

Okay, this was getting ridiculous.  Now, I’m getting ticked.  Why wouldn’t this thing work?  My wife is already halfway done the front yard, and I’m still standing here looking at a trimmer that won’t–for the love of everything good and decent–start up and work!  I figured I’d take a break again.  I don’t recall what I did for those few minutes, but it should have included praying.  It didn’t.

So after a few minutes, I came back out to the hell-spawned machine, stared it down trying to intimidate it into submission, picked it up and again yanked, yanked, yanked, yanked, yanked on the start cord.  (“Trimmer, you are like 30 seconds away from being a permanent part of that tree trunk over there. So, if you value your place in my life and in my shed, I’d suggest that you do something besides sputter!”)  Yank.Yank.Yank.Yank.Yank.Yank.Yank.Yank.Yank.

I set it down on the ground, sweat pouring from my forehead, my t-shirt dripping.  And I hadn’t even actually done anything yet.

And that’s when it happened.  I looked down at that trimmer and noticed a silver switch with two words on either side of it:  “OFF” and “ON”.

Guess what I had forgotten to flip?  Yep, the kill switch.  I could’ve yanked that start cord for the next 4 years and it never would have started as long as the “ON” switch was “OFF”.

Truth is all around us, friends.  And if you think for a second that I didn’t make an IMMEDIATE connection of that switch to a powerful life principle, you don’t know me too well.

How often in our own efforts to do roll up our sleeves, go at something over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over, only to end up in the exact same place we started?  How often do we decide that our strength is enough, or that is has to be?  How often do we overlook the obvious truth in front of us: that the God who made us has every bit of power and offers us his power in its fullest measure; more than we need to handle the situations we face, whether they are slightly annoying or catastrophic. 

Where in your life have you been yanking and yanking and yanking on that cord, trying to make a go of it in your own strength?  Where in your life are you ignoring the “more than enough” power of God to lift you, guide you, help you, and empower you to overcome that situation?  Would you be willing right now to reach down in your heart and mind and flip that switch?  Allow the all-sufficient, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God to give you every bit of every resource you need as you live with Him today.

Just another manic morning.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is recorded to have said, “The prayer of the morning determines the day.”

But for most people, it’d be more accurate to substitute the word “prayer” with “crisis”.  Yesterday, as we were in the final moments of getting kids (we have 4) out the door for the school bus, we decided that our youngest would wear his new slip-on style “Crocs” sandals to school.  Halfway to the bus stop I realized that was a mistake the would shape my next hour or so.  My youngest loves to run and his sandals (with no backs) were not allowing him to run like the wind the way he wanted to.  He’d take a few schlepping steps, get frustrated, stop and cry.  He’d take a few more schlepping steps, sandals scraping the ground as he tried to run and also keep them on his feet, get frustrated, stop and cry.  I soon learned that the sandals weren’t the best idea.  After all, shoes that are “slip-on” must also by their very nature be “slip-off”.  But finally we made it to the bus stop.  He had stopped crying, but was still not too keen on the sandals.

Now, I want to stop here in the story and point out a type of parenting that I call “helicopter parenting”.  When any crisis arises, some parents (myself included at times) swoop in and save the day, providing the perfect solution/rescue from trouble  just in the nick of time.  In that vein, I leaned down to my son’s level and said, “Hudson, would you like me to go and get your sneakers for you?”  Through whimpers, he quietly said, “Yes.”  So I fired up the rotors of my parenting helicopter and flew home as quickly as my feet could carry me, only to see the bus coming up the street as soon as I reached our front porch.  I knew instantly there’d be no way on God’s green earth that I’d make it back to the bus stop in time.

Now, I had a decision to make.  Would I shut down the blades of the helicopter; the parenting helicopter I’d come so accustomed to flying, or would I go the distance and ultimately bring the sneakers to the weeper?  What would you have done?

That’s what I figured.

Since going back to the bus stop would have been useless, I went to his room, grabbed his sneakers out of his closet, grabbed some socks, and climbed back into my parenting rescue copter, which looks suspiciously like a minivan.  Off I drove to the elementary school parking lot, landed the rescue copter, and walked over to where I figured his bus would stop and let him out.  Yep, “Plan B” was working out just fine.  I’d see him get off the bus, swoop in with socks and sneakers, and fly off into the clouds until the next crisis arose. 

And as I stood there for what seemed like an eternity, I thought about what other parents in their parked copters must be thinking while looking at me standing there near that bus loop, under that tree.  Here was a dad who, from all indications looked quite sane and yet was standing in a bus loop holding a pair of child’s socks and sneakers.  I can’t help but think that someone must have seen me standing there and thought, “Oh good Lord, that dad is so inept, he didn’t even put shoes on the kid before sending him out the door!”

So, I finally see buses start to roll in and I keep my eye out for my youngest son’s bus.  There it was!  Rolling in, and rolling by way too quickly to be stopping anytime soon and anywhere near me.  I watched it finally roll to a stop at the opposite end of the bus loop from where I was.  Undaunted and still committed to save the day, I started hoofing it down the sidewalk and into a sea of children, in the hopes to find mine or one that looks like mine.  By that time, I was tempted to grab any kid wearing sandals, sit him down, take them off, and squeeze my kids shoes onto his feet.  But while I was having that thought, I heard a stern, “May I help you?”  But while those were the words coming from this militant mother’s mouth (volunteering as security guard), I was reading between the lines; what she was really saying was, “You don’t belong in this sea of children. I don’t like the looks of you. I don’t trust your intentions. You make me uncomfortable.  You’re not supposed to be here and the fact that you’re here makes me feel and act like a mother hen.   No, a mother mongoose.  No, a mother bear.  No, a mother dragon.”  I quickly tried to explain myself, and the sandals, and the shoes, and the helicopter, but she didn’t care one bit about the sordid details.  She just wanted me to march my trespassing heiney to the front office, go through the retinal and rectal scan like every other visitor has to, and hope to gain entrance into this fortress of security.  So I did.

Did I mention that at this point I’m still a grown man carrying a child’s socks and shoes?  So, I get to the office, punch my name into the computer, sign some legal documents that I think contractually obligate me to surrender my soul to gain entrance, wait for my picture badge sticker to print out, slap it on, and head toward my son’s classroom. 

And then came the payoff.  I walked through the door of my son’s classroom, he looked up from his morning work, and……wait for it…….smiled.

There it was.  There was the sole reason any of us parents do anything.  All that work, that running, that dragonfighting, all for that one moment when my son looked up at me with eyes that said, “I recognize the lengths you have gone through to bring me my socks and shoes.  I esteem you highly and vow from this moment on to never take you for granted, always to appreciate and respect the position of loving authority you hold in my life, and to constantly remind you of just how wonderful I think you truly are.”   But it sounded more like “Hi Dad.”

With pride in my heart, joy on my face, and I think maybe my chest puffed out a little, I took off those dastardly sandals and replaced them with soft warm socks, and lace up sneakers, double-tied.  Now my son could face the day not having to schlep.

Fast forward 24 hours to this morning.  We’re at the bus stop (sneakers on this time), and my two youngest are playing tag while waiting for the bus.  Just as I heard the roar of the bus engine around the corner, I look down just in time to see my son trip and fall on the asphalt street.  Immediate tears and crying ensue.  I think to myself, “Oh good Lord, can I have a normal morning, please?!?”  The answer clearly being “Nope”, I picked him up, tried to convince him all was well and quickly realized he wasn’t buying it.  So, while all the other children climbed aboard the school bus, my youngest and I begin the walk home, with one out of four knees bloodied and needing a band-aid.  After peroxide and some attention from mom, he seemed no worse for wear.  So we got in the minivan once again, put it on auto-pilot from the day before, and enjoyed a nice ride to his school.

I’m not saying that as parents we’re supposed to save our kids everytime they fall, forget, or fail.  In fact, I’d contend that there are definitely times when the good ‘ol “you made your bed, now lie in it” method is completely appropriate.  But at least for now and in instances like these, I’m enjoying building that foundation of trust with my youngest son.  So that in the future when he needs to stand on his own, he’ll know he can do so with the love and support of his parents.