I think my love for kids started with my grandpa George. He died in 1980 when I was ten years old. I still think of him often. He loved me, and I loved him. He was a retired diesel mechanic and a big guy who wore overalls and taught me how to handle power tools as I worked with him in his garage.
Riding in his car was always great because he kept in his glove box a bag of Tootsie Roll Pops with their fudgetastic center. When we went out to breakfast, the waitresses always dropped by our table to hear him tell a story—and he was hilarious. And when I stayed the night at his house, we’d sneak up while Grandma was asleep to eat caramel apples and watch wrestling on TV—“Rowdy” Roddy Piper, The Sheik, Andre the Giant, and my favorite, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka.
The kids in my grandpa’s neighborhood loved him too. They often dropped by to see what he was working on in his shop. And when the ice cream truck drove by, they would stop, get whatever they wanted, and he would always come out and pay for it all.
I loved my grandpa. And I miss him.
One thing he left with me was a deep love for children. I just picked it up from him, as did his daughter, my mom. Growing up at the oldest of five children, I looked forward to one day being a dad.
As a new Christian and college freshman, my first ministry was taking care of a bunch of young kids during a daytime women’s Bible study. It was the best. The kids were super fun, and on any given week I had anywhere from maybe 10 to 20 kids under the age of five for a few hours without any help. Those hours included crackers, juice, Bible stories, wrestling for the boys, and tea parties for the girls. The moms were surprised that a 19-year-old single guy would volunteer for the nursery, but I’m glad I did. And I’d encourage the same for other single men. In fact, I have nine reasons why single men should work in the church nursery:
It helps you learn what Jesus meant by child-like faith
When you tell a kid that Jesus walked on water, they don’t defer to Hume and enlightenment presuppositions about the miraculous. They say, “Yeah!” and their eyes get big because they believe what the Bible says.
It helps you learn about God as Father
When you interact with kids, you are reminded that to God you are just a kid and that you really need your Father. Every guy, including the one in a suit making more money than he can ever spend, is just a Fudgsicle-faced kid to the Father.
It opens up your heart to children
This causes you to view such things as sex and women differently, less selfishly, and more biblically.
It helps you pick a wife who will be a good mom
When you hang out with kids, you realize you need to marry a woman who is more interested in building a good legacy than just having a good time.
It helps you learn how to be a good father
Some guys are afraid, repelled, or ignorant of kids. Get over your fears and prejudices by hanging out with someone else’s kids a few hours a week, and learn how to interact with kids well.
It’s important for kids without a dad to have godly, male investment in their life
Young boys without a dad need the godly investment of a man. Young girls without a dad need a godly man’s loving encouragement. And the single moms really appreciate godly men investing in their kids.
It’s a good place to meet a nice gal
Single guys may not know this, but nice, single gals who love Jesus and want to marry and become a mom someday are working in the nursery. That’s like fishing in a trout pond if you’re a single guy. And the single moms dropping off their kids should be considered for marriage too. After all, Jesus’ mother was a single mom until Joseph married her and adopted Jesus.
Our God came to earth as a single guy and hung out with kids. They loved him. They didn’t crucify him like the religious folks. If you want to learn about Jesus and become more like him, spend more time with kids like he did.