The power of being there for our children is so profoundly meaningful that we often miss it. When kids understand that their parents are there for them, they can overcome amazing obstacles and circumstances to make a positive impact in their world. The power of being there is a deposit into a child’s emotional, physical and spiritual bank account that will pay off in dividends of intimacy and understanding in a family. Many times parents look for the latest parenting fad to help their families become close-knit. Yet the answer is simple and right in front of them: investing your time, energy and commitment to be there for your children. The result is hope and security for all.
In 1989, an earthquake in what was then Soviet Armenia took only four minutes to flatten the nation and kill more than 30,000 people. Here’s how Max Lucado described one moving scene from this horrible disaster:
Moments after the deadly tremor ceased, a father raced to an elementary school to save his son. When he arrived, he saw that the building had been leveled. Looking at the mass of stones and rubble, he remembered a promise he had made to his child: “No matter what happens, I’ll always be there for you.” Driven by his own promise, he found the area closest to his son’s room and began to pull back the rocks. Other parents arrived and began sobbing for their children. “It’s too late,” they told the man. “You know they are dead. You can’t help.” Even a police officer encouraged him to give up.
But the father refused. For eight hours, then sixteen, then thirty-two—for thirty-six hours he dug. His hands were raw and his energy gone, but he refused to quit. Finally, after thirty-eight wrenching hours, he pulled back a boulder and heard his son’s voice. He called his boy’s name, “Arman! Arman!” And a voice answered him, “Dad, it’s me!” The boy added these priceless words, “I told the other kids not to worry. I told them if you were alive, you’d save me, and when you saved me, they’d be saved, too. Because you promised me, ‘No matter what I’ll always be there for you.’”2
2Max Lucado, When Christ Comes (Nashville, TN: Word Publishing, 1999), pp. 21-22.