The Most Important Thing I Did Was Watch My Son Make Sandcastles

By Nancy Flory Published on February 7, 2018

The most important thing I did this past week was watch my son make sandcastles.

I just returned from a trip to Florida to see my family. I took my three-year-old son, Caleb, along with a plan to decompress and relax. While my mom watched Caleb, I took several strolls down to the beach, to pray, to think, and to clear my head.

I love the ocean. Beyond its beauty, I love it because it tells me the waves roll in at His command. The ocean reminds me that God is in control and that He has my life in His hands. I feel a peace beyond anything I’ve experienced. And so relaxed, too.

That’s what I’d hoped I would find on my trip. I needed a time to refresh after this past year.


But then something happened. I took my son down to the beach. He brought a bucket and a kid-sized shovel for making sandcastles. As the white-crested waves tumbled toward us, my little guy scooped shovelfuls of sand into his bucket. He built the castle near the water and over and over watched it “melt” as the waves rolled in.

I wondered how long I should stay, or if I needed to be doing something else. I immediately felt a pang of guilt. There I was, with my sweet son, playing on the beach — and yet I thought I needed to do something else.

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This is the most important thing I need to be doing right now, I thought. Here, in this moment, I choose to be present with my son. We began racing the waves back to the shore. “Run Caleb! Here it comes!” A time or two the waves caught us. Once a wave knocked him off of his feet entirely. We ran to the shore and laughed hysterically. It was restful for my mind and soul. 

God established a day of rest long ago because bodies and minds need rest. Sometimes it comes in the form of literal rest. Sometimes it comes through watching a child play. For me that day, God gave me the refreshment I needed by giving me the moments with my son. The walks on the beach by myself helped me clear my head. But nothing cleared my head like racing the waves with Caleb.

It’s one big way children are a blessing from God. They give us what we need in just the perfect way. “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth” (Psalm 127:3-5). Caleb is God’s blessing and gift to me. The time I spend with him is precious.

It was great to relax last week. It was awesome to spend some time alone with God. I needed that. But the most important thing I did was watch my son make sandcastles. 

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