What I learned from Joseph and ultimately my kids

My family went to a Bethlehem Walk the other night. If you aren’t familiar with them, they’re kind of like an outdoor play that walks you through Bethlehem as it might have been when Jesus was born…all while telling the story of His birth.

What I learned from Joseph and ultimately my kids

I’m always in awe of the fact that Jesus was born subtly, in the still of the night…in a stable.

No pomp and circumstance. No crowds gathered in anticipation. No fan fare.

But when I woke up the next morning, I was actually thinking about Joseph. (Jofus as my kids used to call him.)

First of all, if I were Joseph, I would have totally freaked out! I’d have been a complete wreck.

I remember the months leading up to the day Kaylee, our oldest, was born. I remember thinking, “I really hope I don’t mess this kid up.”

I had so many different thoughts and emotions before her birth…I was so nervous. I mean, I didn’t always remember to feed the dog! And suddenly I was going to be responsible for another human.

Okay, now multiply that by the Son of Man!

Joseph…I know you don’t have any experience being a dad…but you’re about to be a father. Mary is going to have a son…and He’s going to save the world. Don’t mess it up.

P.S. Call him Jesus. 

Okay, I paraphrased a little there, but…Yes, this is what I was thinking after a Bethlehem walk.

But I also thought about how much Joseph must have learned…from a child.

Sure, that child was Jesus, but still…not all that different from any other parent when you think about it.

I mean, our children teach us so much if we just pay attention…if we value them as, well, people.

Of all those things I thought before my daughter was born…the possibility that I might actually learn from her wasn’t one of them. My plans were to drop all of my amazing knowledge on her!

And yet, like Joseph, I have learned a lot…from a child.

For example, my daughter teaches me about patience. Little brothers are sometimes…you know. Does she get frustrated every now and then? Sure. Yet, her fuse is so long and she always shows him kindness. She looks out for him no matter what. And she always forgives him quickly.

I’m the one who loses my cool and overreacts. I’m the one who can’t let things go and is still harping the next day.

She also has a nut allergy. Treats (cookies, cakes, ice cream) that she can’t have are often served at school and parties. She doesn’t get upset…she just politely says “no, thank you” and watches other kids enjoy their treats…without ever complaining…even though I know how disappointed she is.

I’m the one who gets upset when I open the pantry and all of my cereal is gone. I’m the one who complains when someone brings donuts and there’s no chocolate.

My son, Colton, teaches me to stop and savor moments more…to enjoy life. He teaches me that there’s always a reason to smile and there’s always time to laugh. Oh, and no time is like the present when it comes to hugs.

I’m the one who rushes around too much. I’m the one who lets the circumstances of my day dictate my mood.

You see, Joseph’s story reminds me that old and wise can go together, but they don’t have to.

No, none of our children are the savior of the world, but they all have something to teach us.

So keep your eyes open for any lessons your kids might be sending your way.

Because sometimes young and wise go together too.


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  • Hey Stephen,

    Fun post. I learn a lot from my kiddos too. Mackenzie is a constant reminder to laugh, have fun, and enjoy life–her enthusiasm is contagious. Brooklyn’s kindness toward others, never ceases to amaze me. And Addison–our one-year-old–reminds me to continue to experience the world with wonder. Last weekend our family was taking pictures at a local hiking trail. Addison got upset about something. My brother dusted off a rock and handed it to her and… problem solved! She was fascinated.

    All three girls are a reminder of the joy and wonder in the world. I just have to take time to notice and enjoy it 🙂

    • Sounds like you have three amazing daughters, Jed! Love the story about the rock! Thanks for sharing.

  • When I think of Joseph I think of a great leader. How humble he must have been with very little mention of his life other than Jesus birth. The challenges he faced and his faith, trust, and ability to lead a family who was responsible for ensuring the safety and upbringing of the Son of God. I know being a step-father is a challenging task but to add on the task of watching over and shepherding the son of God until he began His ministry and left the nest. Wow! I’ve always admired Joseph and always wished there was just more to what we know about him and his role. I think this would be a great leader to know and study.