No Greater Joy – A Parents Prayer
Yesterday, Denise and I had dinner with our eldest son, Nathan, his wife, Sharla, daughter, Maleah, along with Nicole Slaughter and her son, Nito. Nicole lived with us between her 11th and 12 grade. She is a couple of years older than Nathan. Although she is not a blood relative, Nicole was and is like a daughter to us. When she lived with us I used to take great joy when we were out in public and someone would ask me, “Rev. Hood, and who is she?” I would reply, “This is the daughter I never told you about, and her name is Nicole.” Often the other person would get this strange, quizzical look on their face, trying to figure out the blood connection. Right on que, Nicole would turn her little head, shine her bright eyes and light up the mall with a sensational smile. To me it was hilarious. A couple of times this same scenario would play out when her mother, Maria, was in town, also out in public with us. I would go through the same song and dance routine about Nicole being the daughter I never told you about, then I would add, “And here is her mother.” Maria would die of embarrassment and say, “Nick don’t say that.” To me, it was only a joke, but each of us learned something about family. Family is not just about blood relations, but people who love you unconditionally.
Nicole is like a daughter to us. She has done very well as an adult and as a mother. She is independent, self-confident and a valued member of society. As I listened to her explain several of the ballot proposals that the citizens of California and Oakland, California will vote upon in November, I kept thinking to myself, “the little girl has grown up!”
Watching and listening to Nicole, Nathan and Sharla I thought to myself, “There is no greater joy as a parent than realizing that your child is a responsible adult who is taking care of their business, not asking for assistance, and playing their part in the continuation of the life cycle. As I watched the three of them last night I thought about the words that John says about children in the third letter, first chapter:
3 John 1: 4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 
Questions for Reflection:
- For those who are parents, what is your greatest hope for your children?
- When does a parent know their child is on the right track?
- As a parent, what is your greatest fear for your child or children?
Prayer: Lord, I thank you for every joy. As a parent, I thank you for those moments when it appears that my children are thinking for themselves, acting with thoughtfulness, sensitivity and kindness. Lord, I pray that my children will stay out of trouble, live wholesome, joyful, emotionally well-adjusted lives and on top of all of that, I pray that you will grant them un-paralleled prosperity, unfettered faith and spirituality and most of all, love without bounds. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (3 Jn 3–4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.