Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciple rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.
Matthew 19:13-15 ESV

I don’t blame Blanche Wilson at all for the wreck I almost got into the day of her funeral. It wasn’t her fault I was nervous and running late on my way to be one of her pallbearers. She had no part in my failure to wipe down the dewy windows of my 1965 Oldsmobile Cutlass that morning. No, this was all my doing. I failed to do all the things a good driver normally does when they’re pulling out into traffic, like making sure I could see what was coming down the road before proceeding. Fortunately, as the angry officer who came so close to hitting me explained, he had been well trained in accident avoidance by the California Highway Patrol. Otherwise, both of our mornings could have been much worse. As it was, instead of severe damage to my first car, me, and maybe the officer, I was given a stern lecture and a traffic ticket before I headed on to the service.

All that is less important, however, than the reason I found myself participating in the service at all. Mrs. Wilson was one of my Sunday School teachers and she loved me. She made sure I knew I was the apple of Jesus’ eye and that went double for her. Another thing I remember about her is that we were to be referred to as children, not kids. According to her, kids were small goats, children were children, and there was to be no confusing the two. I think sometimes we fail to appreciate the impact teachers and other caring adults have on children. Many times, children simply need to know they are important and have people in their lives who recognize that fact. The critical nature of the role we have in lovingly pointing little ones in our care toward Jesus can’t be overestimated.

God bless the children in our lives.
Do you remember
what it was like to be one?
In the rush to get things done
don’t forget to show God’s son
to the most precious people of all.

God bless the ones who must look up.
Let them see the savior mirrored in your face.
Take the time to teach,
to model more than preach
like Jesus did.

God bless the little ones
who must follow our lead,
whose good lot in life
is not always guaranteed.
Do what you can to fill the gap,
for the times when they lack.
God’s provision of care
is first for these.

An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”
Luke 9:46-48 ESV

© Joel Tipple 4/27/2019


Daddy, Dad, Papa, Father,

the names we have for our own,

the names our own call us.

So much bound up in one little word

for the man we invest with our trust.


“I’ll fix it!”


Baby, if you only knew

how new you are to me.

But how complicated can you be?

Just some biology, right?


Honey, where’s her mute button?

She didn’t come with one?

She’s fed.

Her diaper’s changed

I’m sooo tired…

“I can fix this.”


What kind of homework do you have?

A project?

When is it due?

Tomorrow morning?!

Okay, let’s get started.


The school dance?

She’s not that old!

She IS that old?

How did she get that old?


“I can’t fix this.”


High School, maybe college, a job, her own baby

and the cycle’s complete.

Like shampoo, rinse, repeat

and I still can’t get any sleep.

“God, help me fix this.”

A grandfather?

I can’t be that old!

I AM that old?

How did I get to be this old?!


One day I’m carrying you,

the next you’re holding me.

And in a flash life happens,

filling the pages in between.


God, our perfect father,

If we’re wise, we look to you first

To help us raise little humans

at their best and at their worst.


There is a book, after all,

though dads are loath to read instructions.

But first things first, can you help me

find my reading glasses?

©Joel Tipple

Don’t Make it Silent

All the earth stood still
that night he arrived
for the Savior of the world
with His family in flight.
But I imagine he cried,
so not for long
was it a silent night.

Children all around the world tonight
are also with their families in flight.
Running from war and famine and fright.
As we celebrate Jesus’ birth,
the light
we’ve received
is responsible sight.
Speak up for the children.
Don’t let them be denied.
With your prayer and hands and feet
and voice
please fight.
Please don’t be
silent tonight.

© Joel Tipple

Walking Around


Lord, do you think it’s breaking?
Can you confirm the sound?
They say when you have children
it’s like your heart out there
walking around.

Walking around out there in the world,
a boy, a girl, or both.
Forever young though years may pass,
the cord feels like a rope.
Lord I know you’ve been there,
so I won’t waste words complaining
it isn’t fair.

Lord I know we can be
a little melodramatic,
and parents throughout the ages
have been correctly described as frantic.
But since you gave us each a heart,
perhaps share the reasons,
and as long as we’re going through it,
help us survive the seasons.

Walking around out there in the world,
an evolution of trust.
A joy and burden all wrapped up,
though we try not to fuss.
Mentioned in our prayers often,
if not more.
A wise parent focuses on the gratitude score.

© Joel Tipple

Green Granddaughter


This week I managed to go out three times cycling, twice to work, which is 15 miles away. Since my bike is part of my exercise plan and a way to save money on gas, I came home satisfied, though tired. As I came through the back door, I could hear my six-year-old granddaughter in the living room, so I went in to say hello.

Me: “Hey Cynthia, how was school?”
Cynthia: “Good. Hey Papa, why are you wearing that?”
Me: “These are my cycling clothes. I rode my bike three times this week. Isn’t that cool?”
Cynthia: “Yeah. Hey Grandma, Papa’s recycling!”

© Joel Tipple

A Season of School


We are,
each one of us,
seasoned by school.
Beginning when we first learn
to stand in line
and hold hands.
And though we never get over wishing it otherwise,
we know some lessons learned by
our children
and grandchildren
will be learned the hard way, such as:
Not everyone likes me. Some people just cannot be pleased, no matter what.
I will find some tasks fun and exciting, while merely tolerating
or being greatly frustrated by others. How I learn to handle both reactions
will have repercussions in every other area of my life, as well.
Just when I think I’ve got something or someone figured out, up will pop
the exception to the rule.
Even though I will seem to spend eternities waiting for summer,
it will all fly by faster and faster.
I won’t be able to magically impart this to my children or grandchildren, either,
but that’s okay.

To Read


As a child
it amazed me
that people
could write things
almost as incredible
as the stuff in my mind.


Do you mean
you can write those things down,
and people will read them,
adding their own sounds?


It’s hard to find words
to describe
how much words
mean to me.
It’s like living in a city
that grows
new streets every day.


I hope growing up
doesn’t mean
I stop loving
the words in the books…
the stories in the books…
the adventures in those books…
that I read today.


© Joel Tipple

Use Your Words


Use your words child when you cry I know that
is wrong I just don’t know exactly

It’s terribly
frust-er-ating when you carry on
must I tell you how I tear my hair out
ing bloody murder ain’t
ing me to the cause of all this conster-
Give me patience Lord I haven’t asked you for much
in the

Use your words child no not the ones daddy said the other day remem-
he told you those are not nice
It’s just that daddy was kind of angry
oh I get it
yeah you’re right daddies misbehave sometimes too
let’s start ov-

We’ll use “our” words
did I tell you how you’re the answer to the prayer your mommy and I prayed
let’s find some pictures of your mommy when she was little like you
how much alike the two of you are
Sure we can read some stories

We’ll read some words
maybe we’ll learn some togeth-
that would be fun
My favorite word
that would