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Stinky Sock Stories


It was a long day.  And, like most long days, the ending of it seemed twice as long as the rest of it.  The kids had as much energy (and were listening as well as) a brand new puppy.  My wife and I were more tired than our arthritic old dog.  Not a good combination.  It was the point in the evening when we were really ready to put the kids to bed.  But bedtime was just far enough away that there would have been a twinge of guilt if we did so (if you are a parent of young ones, you know what I mean).  We had to stall—and we had to do it quick before all control was lost.

As is usually the case, my son had left his dirty, stinky socks lying on the floor.  I saw them, pushed back the nagging desire to discipline, and took a breath.  Plato is often attributed to the quote, “Necessity is the mother of all invention.”  It was certainly true this night.

The plan was far from crystallized, I only knew the first step, but it was the best shot I had.  I picked up those stinky, smelly socks and slipped them over my hands.  “Stinky Sock Stories” was born!  It wasn’t anything magical.  We’ve all seen sock puppets before.  But this was something new.  I now had the shtick to keep their attention—I just didn’t know what I wanted to say yet. I was stalling as my tired mind raced to come up with a creative story.  But they didn’t want a make up story—and I didn’t want to give them one.  Instead, those stinky socks began to tell the story of how my wife and I met.  For 15 minutes, 6 kids, ages from 8 down to 1, sat on the couch enthralled as these stinky socks made them laugh, asked them questions, and told the beginning to the story that would lead to their births.

What stories do you tell your kids?  Your grandkids?

Bedtime, as my buddy Rich Melheim will tell you (learn more at ), is the most important time of the day to instill meaning making moments into your children.  As our bodies lay down to sleep, our brains crank into high gear to replay and re-play the entire day.  As it turns out, the last 5 -10 minutes before our head hits the pillow get top billing.  They get repeated the most.  Therefore, what we do as parents with those final minutes is pretty vital to the growth and development of our babies, toddlers, adolescents and teens.

The more and more I—or should I say the stinky socks—told the story the more the plan came into focus.  Stinky Sock Stories doesn’t happen every night in our home—but the kids ask for it every night!  And every night I have the chance to give them another taste of the love that their mom and dad have for each other (and them).  But, the best part is, while I model for them my hopes and dreams for their relationships and future spouses; we always end with a Word from the greatest love story.  Infusing their brains with the story of love of mom and dad, connecting that with the power of the Author of Love, and tucking them in with a final blessing that says, “Jesus loves you and so do I.”

You don’t need to use a pair of stinky socks.  But don’t miss the precious opportunity that you have tonight.  Share some stories.  Model what love looks like.  Point them to their heavenly Father.  And give them a blessing tonight.  Every Night!


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