River, the Fireman

Being a middle child can be tough. Sometimes we look back and realize we pay far less attention to River, our second child, than our other children. The photo album has more pictures and videos of his older brother and his younger sister. Relatives and friends seem to talk to River’s siblings more than they talk to River.

But River has some unique qualities of his own. For one thing, we love his attractive eyebrows. Also, he has one of the biggest, widest smiles you would see on a child’s face. But one of the most interesting things about River was his recent identification as a fireman.

I can’t remember when it began, but for some time already, River has taken a liking to fireman. He wants to be a fireman when he grows up. Wendy bought a bed in the shape of a firetruck (from Craigslist), and now River is happily sleeping in it, enjoying spending half of a day (his nighttime and nap time) inside of a toy firetruck.

What struck me even more is how much he identifies with being a fireman. For a few days earlier this year, he asked us to call him “Fireman” instead of calling him “River.” And whenever we praise him when he does something nice for other people, he would say, matter-of-factly, “Firemen are nice.” One time I took the kids to rodeo, and I asked River, “Do you want to ride a horse?” He replied, “Firemen do not ride horses.”

How I wish that I can learn this lesson from River. My identity should be in Christ. And just like River’s identification with being a fireman drives everything that River does, my identity as a child of God should drive everything that I say, think, and do.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. … And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:1-3,17)