When I first came to New York on my 6 week sabbatical as a pastor needing to refresh, renew, and revitalize, I was looking forward to everything except the subway. To be honest, I was terrified of the experience. Everything I knew about the subway was gained from movies I'd seen and tales I had heard. Most of that was negative. And my very first subway ride was at night, as I rode 65 blocks to the Manhattan Writers Den.
Well, other than a few isolated incidents in my 6 weeks, the subway has been very tame and very calm. One strange thing I noticed very early in my subway rides...most people isolate themselves. They hide behind sunglasses and earbuds/earphones. Very few interact. There seems to be an imaginary wall built up for protection. Few interact...fewer smile.
Yesterday, on our way to the Brooklyn Tabernacle, that all changed. A father and his four children (pictured above) got on the F train at one of our stops. The two older girls turned to each other and began a hand clapping game. They giggled and sang and clapped. There was such joy in these children that the people seated or standing immediately next to them began to smile. Suddenly, that smile turned to laughter. It was infectious. All the way down that train car, heads began to turn and faces broke smiles. The children softened the atmosphere and lit up our train car.
But that's not all I want to share. This family got off with us and walked the block from the subway station to the Brooklyn Tabernacle. This father was taking his four children to church. As a pastor, I was inspired, amazed and thrilled. I can't tell you the number of mothers who bring their children and attend church without the husbands/fathers. The statistics are astronomical. But this father was taking a stand...leading his children...showing them that God was important...church was important...they were important.
I had to stop and congratulate this man and his family for their gift to me yesterday. I asked if I could take their picture for my blog, and as you see above, they complied. Kudos! Men of the world, stand up, lead your families...teach them not only in word, but in deed.
From the Strength of a Family