ON BEING A DAD
A Personal Reflection from Joey
I remember hearing soon after my first child, a son was born the phrase “Many men can father a child but it takes a special person to be a Dad.” That thought has stuck with me throughout my parenting years. I wanted to be that person that my kids could and would look up to. I wanted them to trust me and believe in me. I wanted their mom and I to be the primary people to influence their thinking and their belief system. Now that my kids are young adults, I want them to be proud of having me as their father and come to me for advice or counsel. I want them to draw from the wellspring I have put in their hearts of how to live God’s way to influence the day to day choices and decisions they will make as adults and parents.
What I have found is all the time of playing and riding bikes with my kids, as well as all the sports and music events I sat through, to the times I read from my Bible and devotion books to them, and for all the times we sang “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” or played Candyland to insisting they learn their multiplication table and make their beds and brush their teeth to putting away the dishes exactly as their mom instructed them; these were ALL opportunities for them to know who I was and are lasting reminders that they can trust their Dad.
Today, I have a great relationship with my kids. We are friends and we have wonderful time together as a family. I am working in a similar way to build that same trusting relationship with my grandkids.
Why did I do all this? I realized the more they trusted me, the more they knew me. The more they understood why I trained them to obey me in all I instructed them to do, the more they would understand what God wants them to do. This may sound self-serving, but I actually had a bigger reason and they couldn’t possible know.
I realized a long time ago the day would come when I would not be the primary influence in their lives anymore; that I couldn’t go to work or college with them or live in their homes with their young families. I realized my goal was to transition their obedience, respect and trust in me to having that same loving commitment, obedience, respect and trust to their heavenly Daddy. He is someone who loves them more than I ever could.
I realized the greater blessing was for my kids to listen to and trust God their heavenly Father to an even greater extent than they would me. This meant if I was not a great example of a dad to them, they would not fully understand how God could be a Father to them too.
I have a friend who is a dad of teenagers and he rarely calls God his heavenly Father. He often says “Dad is so good to me” speaking of God and all the blessings He gives to him. I love the way my friend says, “Our Dad treats us better than I deserve!”
Did you have a wonderful dad who showed you how to live for Jesus? Or, perhaps he lived his life in such a way it is difficult to trust God to be a loving caring heavenly Father you can place your trust in. Either way, I hope as you live your life, especially around your kids, you will see God as your best cheerleader in the universe. He is the loudest voice in the grandstands cheering you on like you are competing in an Olympic sport because you are and He is. The sport? Fatherhood.
The more you see God – “Dad” cheering you on, the more you will obey Him and live the way He directs you to from his Word. The more you live God’s way, the more your kids will see that as truth and obey. Eventually as they mature into young adults, you get to transition them to become more concerned about pleasing and doing what their heavenly Dad says and then you get to sit back and watch them please Him and joy will fill your heart as you see them fulfill the purpose God gave them to you for, to raise them to bring glory to God through their lives.
A Dad has a tremendous opportunity and influence in this world, more than we think and usually get credit for. No matter how much your wife or kids tell you “You’re the world’s best DAD” on Father’s Day, ultimately it is enough to be your kids’ best DAD.
Here is a verse every Dad should be able to say to his kids throughout their life:
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
I Corinthians 11:1