Josiah is my three-year-old who is in preschool. Today the teacher asked the kids in the class what they want to be when they grow up. Some of the vocations that the kids wanted to be were:
- Train conductor
These are all very exciting professions, especially in the eyes of three and four-year olds. But my son had the best vocation of them all. When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, Josiah said, “A Dad”! WooHoo! I feel crazily loved and treasured by my three-year old. He wants to be like me when he grows up. When my wife told me this I had a smile from ear to ear. Here is a picture Mary took with her camera phone:
I also think my son is profoundly theologically adept. He resisted the cultural pressures to define his identity in terms of vocation alone. 😉 While vocation certainly plays a part of our identity, our relational networks are at least as important and frequently overlooked in defining our identity. By saying he wants to be a dad when he grows up, he is saying that who he will be is going to primarily be defined in relational terms. He wants to be the father of children. How beautiful. Other great relational identifiers could be:
- Child of God
- Follower of Christ
Taking a cue from my theologically intuitive son, I’m going to start defining my identity along relational lines as well as vocational lines. When someone asks me to introduce myself, I’m going to begin by talking about the precious relationships I have first, and then talk about my vocational efforts. I’m a husband, a father, and a friend of God in addition to being a pastor. What a treasure my son is!