The Door Screen

Throughout the span of a year or so, the screen on our side door became quite tattered, mostly from our children pushing against it, rather than pushing against the door, when opening it. Of course, like a father, I asked them at least a hundred times to not push against the screen, but, lo and behold, they just kept on doing it. When I would catch them pushing up against the screen, I would quickly tell them, “Please don’t do that!” To which they would reply the obvious, “Oh, sorry, dad!”

Well, finally, I decided to purchase some new screening material and ‘re-do’ the screen on that door. After the door was re-screened, I thought to myself, “Now how am I going to convince my dear chidren not to push against the screen and to use the door itself?” I thought that perhaps I could install a piece of wood — as in a horizontal bar extending from one side of the door to the other, which would act as a ‘guard’ to prevent them from pushing against the screen. Instead, they would be inclined to push against the bar. However, thinking about how much time it would take for me to do that (let’s say an hour), I thought to myself, “Surely there must be a better way!” I thought to myself, “How about a sign posted on the screen, warning (little) people not to push against it!” Well, I thought about that idea, but I wasn’t prepared to put it into action … not just yet, anyhow.

After installing the new screen, I proceeded to walk up the stairs to where my children were having fun in the bathtub together. I wanted to be gentle with them, and somehow get them to obey me (by not hitting up against the screen door), but without having to go the work of installing a bar, which would cost me an extra hour of my time. Besides, the bar would be a tricky thing to get working; it would make it difficult to raise and lower the sliding window portion of the door without also installing some ‘risers’ (spacers) to provide for a clearing for the window.

I thought to myself, “There’s got to be a better way!” I walked into the bathroom, where the children were having plenty of fun, and, in as gentle a manner as I could think of, carefully said to the children, “Oh, Daniel, and Elizabeth”. “Yes, daddy!” came the jubilant, glee-filled, reply. “Well, I just installed a brand new screen on the door. And, well, … I would really like it if you could please not push against it when you use the door, if you wouldn’t mind. That would make me really, really, happy!” The reply was ever so sweet, coming first from my 6-year old daughter, and then from my nearly 8-year old son, “Oh, daddy, you don’t have to worry about a thing! We will be very very careful not to touch the screen on the door! We promise!”

Wow. I was floored. However, I still wasn’t convinced that they would really not put their hands against the screen! So I repeated it, this time engaging my son a little more for his reaction. “Well, dad,” my son replied, “I’ll be careful not to put my hand against the screen door. But … if I do … I’ll be sure to let you know!”

“Excuse me,” I said to my son. “What do you mean, ‘If I do?’ You mean you can’t promise me that you won’t put your hand against the screen door?”

“Well, dad,” came the reply, “I might forget and accidentally put my hand against the screen.”

“I see,” I said to my son, feeling somewhat perplexed about this situation. So it was going to be ‘like that’. Hum … had not I myself taught my son not to lie? And was he not only being honest in telling me the truth that he might forget? Yes, that was exactly what he was doing. He was to be commended for that. I knew that the Lord was smiling upon him.

Then, came the golden surprise. My son told me the ‘answer’ to making sure that no one would accidentally put their hand to the screen. It was the same (simple) answer that I had ‘received’ earlier, but had not been willing to implement (at that time). In other words, I needed a little extra ‘push’ in order to put that suggestion (which likely came from the Lord) into practice.

It was, as it were, a word of ‘confirmation’ from the Lord. And I was really really pleased to hear it. My son said, “Well, dad, how about if you put a little sign on the screen, right were we might put our hands on it, so that if we see the sign, then we won’t put our hands there. It will be like a reminder to us, not to put our hands on the screen!”

Praise the Lord!

I said, “Yes, Daniel, that’s a great idea! I will do that right away!”

I went downstairs, and prepared the simplest of signs, which reads, “Don’t Touch!” and taped it onto the screen, making sure to tape it on at about the level that my son indicated — the spot where a little person might be inclined to press against it. (And to this day … a whole 24 hours later, I’m delighted to say that it’s working just fine!)

That, then, was the end of that! It was, in my opinion, a great example of how the Lord can and does work “all things” out for the better to those who love him and are called according to his purposes.

“Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have ordained strength, because of your enemies, that you may silence the enemy and the avenger.” (Psalm 8:2, NKJV)