A twelve year old boy and his father share a long commute every afternoon.  Doesn’t that sound like a recipe for quality time between a father and his gifted and precocious son?  Maybe, maybe not. 

What if the boy holds a strong faith in the free gift of Christ’s salvation, and his father does not?  What if the boy recognizes a mercy and forgiveness that his dad rejects?  The father wants to teach survival, to make his boy aware of the dangers in the world, to hammer home the message that a man earns his own way.

I don’t want to paint the picture of a man who is entirely wrong.  Each has something of value to share with the other.  The father’s lessons are logical and easy to justify and he truly wants the best for his son.  In fact, the boy needs to absorb much of this to achieve full maturity, but he must find a way to choose what is right from a barrage of harsh and negative flak.

By what method do each of them wield influence?

The grown man has physical strength, a lifetime of experience, and parental authority behind him, but he’s missing the greatest gift and his son knows it.  The boy recognizes a spiritual void and wants to see it filled.  How does he assert his influence on a grown man?  In his youthful innocence, how does he share compassion and grace with a man filled with bitterness?

Jesus sent out his disciples, saying,  “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.  Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”  In my novel, a son engages his father in a story game that they play during their commute, and in the game they find a common ground to act out their world views.  Through that conflict, an opportunity comes for the boy to assert his influence.

For good or for bad, children do influence their parents.  How many parents have found that to be true in their lives?


Filed under Conflict, Influence, Relationships

5 responses to “A CHILD’S INFLUENCE

  1. Bill Blaire

    I took my kid on his first hunting trip. He said a lot of things that made me think. We never spent that much time before. I mean alone.

  2. I am blessed, as every parent is, with fantastic children. Like any parent I could brag on them for hours. What most impresses me however is their unabashed desire to always challenge the ‘norm’.

    Daily I am amazed at the questions they pose, the art, music, and writing they create. I’m deeply moved by the observations they make after reading a book, fiction or otherwise.

    John, in your writing you have gifted many who, prior to digesting the words you’ve penned, may not have realized the massive level of influence that children envoke in the simple yet overwhelming task of developing their own identities.

    Thank you for sharing with us!

  3. Ann Brice

    This makes me recall a terrible argument between my husband and me. We were screaming at each other.

    My son came down the stairs. I guess we woke him up. Anyway, I could see he was crying. He looked at me and asked us why we were fighting. The whole argument just melted away.

    He’s twelve, and crying is something he doesn’t do. But I saw the tears. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know how things might have turned out.

  4. Janet Case

    I have to admit that I’ve never considered a role-reversal of this type in my own writing. It seems that the boy in the story is up against it, considering his father, and the relationship has to be difficult to describe.

    In my life, I’ve experienced and witnessed just this kind of role reversal more than once. It’s very real and should make good reading. It seems strange that more authors don’t explore this issue. Perhaps the material is just too challenging. I can’t wait to see it in print.

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