There's nothing quite like being a father. I can't fully explain how my heart swells with pride when my 2 year old daughter says her prayer at night or I catch my 4 year old son helping out around the house or my little 6 month old gets up on all fours for the first time. There's nothing like holding them up in your arms and feeling their tender love or helping them out with a project. There's also nothing quite like dealing with their sin and disciplining them and being disappointed when they act out or act up. It's a roller coaster ride. For a few days this week we've enjoyed some time off going to my parent's house in Wisconsin. It's fun to be at the house I grew up in, relive some of those memories as a kid and spend some quality time with my wife and kids and parents too.
It's making me wonder more and more what it would be like to grow up in ancient Israel. What did the kids play with and do for fun? Did they play much or was it almost all work all the time to help support the family and the self-subsistence lifestyle? What chores did they do? What was the relationship like between parents and children? How did they raise their kids? What kind of education did they give? How did they discipline? I need to find answers to some of these questions or at least have an educated guess. My character is a product of his upbringing. What experiences would he have gone through as a child growing up during that age? How would they shape him into the man he is as the story begins? How do his early experiences affect the path of his life later on? Does he have unresolved issues that he needs to overcome?
I've been having fun digging into these and other questions as I continue to develop Benaiah's character and tell the story of his journey. What a joy to be able to draw on my own experiences as a father or as a child as I try to imagine myself back into that time period and write this story. If anyone has any suggestions or resources that would help in this area, I'd welcome them!