Kids Are From Mars...


Small miracles come along when we least expect them, changing our lives forever...

When I was first married, fatherhood was the farthest thing from my mind. For one thing, I found children disgusting. My older brother had a few. One Thanksgiving dinner I watched them put peas in their ears and corn in their diapers. It was pretty disgusting. They blew Pablum out their noses, and then they wanted a kiss. And—you guessed it—their mother gave them one.

That afternoon as I lay peacefully on the sofa sleeping off a turkey hangover, my 1-year-old nephew brought a ripe diaper to rest on my forehead. I made a vow that day: I will have children just as soon as cows produce root beer. I will change diapers when 4 plus 3 equals 11. And if I ever do, I shall clip a clothespin to my nose.

But four years later my wonderful wife stood before me in some rather expensive lingerie and said, “Honey, let’s have kids—tons of them.” And it seemed like a good idea at the time. Six months later I found myself trying to come up with answers to questions like, “Honey, do I look the Goodyear Blimp?” There is no correct answer to this question. No means yes. Not really means yes. And if you hesitate or laugh during any of your answers, you could go without a well-balanced meal for weeks. Historically the only men experiencing any success with this question were those who promptly joined the navy.

Soon I found myself in prenatal class—learning how to breathe, watching R-rated films and holding a tennis ball. “Rub her back with this in the delivery room,” said the instructor. “It will provide peace and serenity, a sense of oneness with each other and the universe.” I thought to myself, I bet Solomon never went to prenatal class.

May 31, 1986 was a Saturday. My friends played softball that day. I paced a hospital hallway with my wife. Or at least I think it was my wife. But whereas Ramona had always been rather sweet and soft-spoken, this woman was more like Attila the Hun in a hospital gown.

“RUB MY BACK!” she commanded.

I pulled out the tennis ball.

“DON’T TOUCH ME!” she hollered.

This continued for approximately 14 years. Until I found myself face-to-face with the first miracle I’d ever witnessed: my firstborn son. He was a little wrinkly, but who could blame him? I held him close. I touched his tiny fingers and counted his toes—all ten of them. I looked into his eyes. They were blue like mine.

“Stephen,” said my wife past the widest smile I’d ever seen on her face.

And then the most amazing thing happened. A revival, I suppose.

As I looked into those blue eyes, it was as if I heard these words: “Callaway, for the first 25 years of your life you’ve been a hypocrite. You’ve been close to the church but far from God. You are holding in your arms the one person you’ll never be able to hide it from. If you think this little guy won’t see it, you’re naive. If you think this little guy won’t learn from what he sees, think again.”

People ask me when I became a Christian. I say May 31, 1986. You see, that night, for the first time in my life, I bowed my head and said, “Dear God, I’m sorry. Make me real. I want my precious little boy to hunger and thirst after righteousness. I want him to love Jesus with everything he’s got. If he won’t learn to from me, he has two strikes against him already.”

And I meant every word.

It’s been slow going sometimes, but I believe God heard that prayer. Five years later this same little boy looked up at me one night and said, “Daddy, I wanna be like you,” and tears came to my eyes.

I don’t have all the child-rearing answers. But I do know this: If we want our children to love God, let’s love Him first. If we want them to obey, we need to be obedient to the still small voice of God. And if we want our lives to be changed forever, have children. Tons of them. P.S. Don’t forget the clothespins.

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