My 7-year-old twins and 6-year-old son are at the top of my list of favorite people to spend time with. Trips to the store or general errands are perfect opportunities for me to have some one on one time with my children.
Like most parents we have those crazy nights when you’re dropping off one child before picking up another from a different location at the same time. On this particular day, I was taking my son, Wesley, to his basketball practice before picking up the twins from grandma and grandpa’s house. In the 7-minute car ride to practice my son became a pyromaniac.
We ate, did homework, dressed for practice, and loaded the car in what felt like 5 minutes. As I was pulling out of the driveway I turned the radio down so we could talk, “What was your favorite part of school today, buddy?” To which Wesley replied, “Turn the radio back up – I like this song!”
It was a good song but I really wanted a few minutes of his time. I was thinking that we were the only two in the car and I just wanted to talk. My thoughts were interrupted with the request again, “Daddy, will you please turn that song up?”
The song was Build Your Kingdom Here by Rend Collective Experiment. I had heard the song before but was about to hear it now through my son’s interpretation. The opening was rather calm with a man singing before the crescendo began as the song picked up pace with a strumming guitar. The steering wheel became a tambourine while I kept the beat - the tune had me hooked. I found myself turning the song up as requested to match Wesley’s singing volume.
Soon there were drums and a bass guitar. New background singers from the radio joined our singing in the car. Wesley was playing air guitar in the back seat while he muddled through most of the lyrics. When the chorus began his volume reached a new level and so did his smile. Without missing many words and with all of his heart he sang, “Heal our streets and land … set your church on fire … win this nation back … change the atmosphere … build your kingdom here.”
We had a full concert going when the song ended as we pulled into the parking lot.
I turned the volume down and turned the car off.
“Dad …” Wesley called out.
“Yes, buddy?” I asked.
“That was fun.”
“I think it was fun, too, ” I responded.
“But dad …” Wesley continued. “Why did they want to burn their church down? That’s not very nice.”
I corrected, “Well they didn’t really want to burn the church down. What they really mean is they want their church to be a great place for people to attend. If you’re ‘on fire’ it means you have momentum; things are going your way.”
If the average 6-year-old asks a hundred questions each day, Wesley asks two hundred, and so it began as this little ‘pyromaniac’ began to fire questions at me.
“Is our church on fire?”
“I think it is.”
“Well, it’s a great place to be and great things are happening there.”
“What else is on fire, dad?” Before I could answer he interrupted his own thinking with another question, “Are you on fire, dad? Are you burning?” It was getting personal now. I could feel the heat - he wanted to know about me. “Well…” I began. He interrupted again, “Dad … is our family on fire?”
“Wesley,” I quickly called so I could have his attention before asking another question, “I think our family is on fire. Do you?” It was his turn to be on the spot. I wanted to know if he really understood what we were talking about. A simple, “Yes” was his answer. What followed next was more impressive from his young mind.
“I think we’re on fire because we are Thompson’s and we can do anything. Now let’s go, dad.” He had heard it from his family before and had made the important connection. Wesley skipped to the building with his basketball.
“Wesley,” I called.
“I hope you’re on fire at basketball practice tonight.”
“Me, too,” Wesley said. “I’ll let you know, dad.”
I went back to the car to pick up the twins. I smiled all the way to my parents. I wanted to know about his school day but got much more because Wesley asked me to turn the radio up. I arrived at my destination and the twins got in the car. I was greeted with a harmonic, “Hi Daddy” from the twins.
“Hi girls - Did you have fun?” I asked.
I wanted to know about school again. “How did school go today?”
“Daddy?” Brenna asked.
“Can you turn the radio up?”
“Yeah,” Julia added. “We like this song.”
Dwayne A. Thompson is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Piqua City Schools