A word of advice: Do not take your kids with you to work. No matter what the child psychologists say, nothing good can ever come from it. It is a very bad thing.
For instance, when my career was still young I took my even younger son to the office. This was a family-friendly place and children were encouraged to participate. Actually, it was a large church and we ran a small Day Care. I was the Associate Pastor of this particular church and my son attended this particular pre-school. So it was inevitable that the Senior Pastor and my son would meet, no matter how much I tried to prevent this from happening.
Jonathan (His name will not be changed to protect him. He deserves anything he gets.) was three years old. Three-year-olds are adorable. They have just discovered they have a mind and it is a wonderful thing to experience. They observe. They think. They reason. They plan. And then, they forget they have a mind and then they start to speak and they don’t stop. It is a horrible thing to experience.
On this particular day, Jonathan (again, his real name) stepped up to the drinking fountain. Senior Pastor Herb was behind him in line with all the rest of the three-year-olds. Herb recognized Jonathan and, as pastors often do, wanted to make a connection. This, of course, was his first mistake.
“Good morning, Jonathan!” Herb was upbeat. He was polite. He was gentle. He made eye contact. He was very pastoral. Oh, he was good.
My first-born son turned and looked my superior in the eye as only a self-possessed three-year-old can, “Hello, Butt Head!”
Herb stopped short. He examined my toe-headed boy, looking for signs of humor in his eyes, a smile on his lips. There were no signs of comedy. There was no reason for Herb to think Jonathan would have fun at his expense. Herb’s pastor-counselor-therapist-exorcist instincts kicked in and he proceeded boldly, “Jonathan, I know your dad and I don’t think he would want you saying words like that.”
Jonathan’s three-year-old mind had now fully disengaged. He had turned it to autopilot, “My dad doesn’t care, Butt Head.”
Herb could feel the eyes of five more children behind him in line. They were concentrating on this fascinating exchange and Herb gave them a smile of reassurance and turned back to my son. He tried a different, less pastoral approach, “Jonathan, I know you wouldn’t call me Butt Head in your home.”
“Yes we do, Butt Head.” With this, he hopped off the step to the drinking fountain and innocently skipped down the hall to join all the rest of the demon-possessed three-year-olds who were plotting to ruin their fathers’ careers.
And that, my friends, is why on this Sunday morning, I’m still in my P.J.’s, drinking coffee, telling you this charming little story, instead of going through my sermon one last time.