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Parables of Parenthood – chapter 6

with SamIn anticipation of the book’s release in 2014, I am going to offer a series of excerpts on this blog. I hope these selections wet your whistle; may you be like my son, Sam, who knows the word, “more”! 

I found my dog, Nikki, on the side of the road when she was a

puppy, so while we don’t have an exact way of knowing her

pedigree, her interaction with Sam has confirmed our long

held suspicion that she is some kind of collie. Shepherding

comes naturally to her.


This sheep dog’s relationship with our little one

changed rather quickly. It all started when Sam began to figure

out that those strange fleshy appendages flapping across

his line of sight actually belonged to him. Once he discovered

his hands, Sam would lie contently on his back and

just stare, opening and closing his fingers again and again,

utterly transfixed. But then he started to reach for things,

including Nikki. He was very awkward at first, somewhat

like a dog pawing at an object on the ground. But unlike

canines, Sam has an opposable thumb, which means he has

the ability to grab. With the development of this skill, our

long-haired furry friend began to avoid this little creature

who seemed to be constantly tugging and pulling on her.

No longer was she trying to shepherd him; now she needed

protection from him!


What do you think? Is it possible to teach an old dog

a new trick? If I may use this question as a segue, it is popular and

trendy nowadays in certain denominations to talk about

how we want to welcome the “little ones” into our congregations

by which we refer, not only to children, but especially

to young adults and families. We also like to remind

ourselves that we welcome the so-called “lost” in reference

to those who previously have not been in communities of

faith, the so-called “un-churched.” Yet we often find ourselves

biting off more than we can chew.

Copyright Andrew Taylor-Troutman, 2014; Wipf & Stock

About Andrew Taylor-Troutman

I am a pastor and a preacher, a writer, a husband and a father. My professional and personal lives are deeply involved with story-telling: stories that are silly and poignant or profound and commonplace. Stories that are tear-jerkers and belly-shakers. Stories about my son, Sam, and the congregation I serve, New Dublin Presbyterian Church. Each in its own way, these personal narratives shed light on the great story that God is writing with humankind and all of creation.


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