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Daughter Teaches Father to Slow Down

I had accepted the call as senior pastor of a large congregation that had recently erected a huge, state-of-the-art building resulting in major debt. Feeling the pressures of my new responsibility—and with a strong desire to impress my parishioners—I hit the ground running. I was in the office early every day, and almost every evening I was out shepherding the flock or reaching out to potential church members.

My wife, Teresa, was very understanding, but our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Mandi, was perplexed by my absence. Mandi loved for me to read to her after dinner each evening—a practice I continued in my new position, with one caveat: I would sit on the edge of my recliner with her seated by my side and read a quick story or two before rushing out for another night of harried activity.

One evening Mandi said something that jolted me back to reality about my role as a father. I had sat down with her in my recliner—once again on the edge, ready to quickly read and run. While I was reading, Mandi interrupted me, patted the recliner seat, and said, "Scoot back, Daddy, scoot back." She knew on those rare occasions when I wasn't going back out that I would relax, sit back in my recliner, and leisurely read stories to her heart's content.

Her words pierced my soul as I understood what she was really saying: "Please slow down, Daddy. Make time for me!" Appropriately chastened, I scooted back.

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