I grew up thinking that husbands and wives were always happy with each other—never had a fuss or a fight. Nor did it never occur to me that some parents might spank in anger or be abusive to their children. I had no idea that some fathers, uncles, brothers, and even pastors and deacons molested little children. I was thirteen and babysitting when for the first time I saw a young married couple fighting. I was astonished that two parents were raising their voices at each other. In a breathless panic I told my mom what I saw. She never skipped a beat, and just simply said, “A lot of husbands and wives fight.” Her lack of surprise only shocked me further.

How is it that I was shielded from those realities for so long? Could it be because both of my parents loved God and believed His Word? No one is perfect, and being married there are times you want to talk down to your husband and make him toe the line. You want to give him what he deserves, but what does God say you should do? My mother and father say it is what they learned from God’s word that made their marriage different.

My parents knew what I now know, that a child is a book waiting to be written. Every minute of every day is filled with writing on the blank pages of your child’s life story. Some people call it “making memories.” But memories are not formed just on special occasions. Every moment of a child’s life is part of who he will become. Those early years are when we develop our character and form our values.

My parents provided a haven for me growing up, but they didn’t shut me out from life. Quite the contrary, at an early age I learned to work for the things I wanted. I learned to help others in need. My parents gave me tools, ideas, and resources to build things. They praised my hard work and showed my creative projects off to everyone. They delighted in me, and I delighted in praise. I grew to love serving people. I worked hard with my hands and saw profit in it, making a little money. I was so busy learning and developing in life that I did not have time to waste on foolishness. If I did get the “bored face” they would give me a job like washing dishes. I found I liked staying busy and got very creative.

Years later, I am happily married and have an amazing four-year-old boy and another child on the way. Every day I am conscious of filling the blank pages of my son’s life. I know that every paragraph is precious, making a permanent mark in his life. One day he will take the pen and write without me helping him. I pray to God for the wisdom to raise my son in the way he should go, to make a man of truth that will stand for God and righteousness, that will defend the weak, give to the needy, and raise his children to be soldiers of God.

Parents, we are in a race against time with our little ones. Every minute counts. Like my parents before me, I know I am the author of my child’s future. I am not just making a happy little boy; I am making the future father of my grandchildren. May they rise up and call me blessed as I do my parents.