6/14/2017 12:00:00 AM
As a boy growing up my dad was my hero. I was too young to see the flaws, to notice the failures and faults, all I saw was the heroics of his every move. When he was out of the house I would sneak into his room, open up his closet, and begin to take out his clothes. I would grab a hold of one of his suit coats and put it on. Take his shoes out and slip them on. They would be draped over me, barely being able to hold on to my tiny body. I would imagine one day being as big and strong as my dad, being able to walk the way he walks. I had this image of a man who knew everything and could do anything!
I’m now 3 years into being a Father and I have found out the real secret behind being a dad; FAKING IT! Fatherhood is walking through life displaying confidence while inwardly confessing, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING!
Most of Fatherhood is figuring it out as you go along. You can read as many books as you want, you can talk to as many other dads as you can, but you have to figure it out yourself. When the pressure hits, when the boys are on the floor pushing and hitting, you have to decide what to do in that moment.
As I navigate the waters of fatherhood I’m not sure how to handle every situation, but I try to decide what’s best as I go along. I’m not sure what the right decision always is, but I try to make the best one that I can. Still, as I look to father my kids I have this deep longing to figure it out because I want my kids to look up to and trust me. Because that’s what a father does, figures it out.
In his book, “Manhood for Amateurs”, Michael Chabon writes this, “My sense of myself as a father, my sense of fathers, is so deeply caught up with some kind of primal longing for inerrancy, for the word of God, for a rock and a redeemer, a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, for the needle that always, always finds true north in a storm.”
As a dad, this is what I long for, but the reality is that I do and will continue to fail. I will say the wrong thing, make up the wrong rule, choose the wrong decision, I won’t be that needle that always finds true north in a storm.
My oldest son Abraham is currently in a phase of life where I seem like the hero. The other day he went to get a haircut and before he left I asked what kind of haircut he wanted, he pointed to my head and said I want to look like you! He found a picture of a haircut like mine and said, “That one!” As he arrived home with freshly cut hair he was distraught because he still had ‘yellow-hair’ and wanted dark hair like me. A few days later he placed my shoes on and in what he thought was a killer act of physical comedy started to walk around our house in them.
This is the cute side of being a parent but at the same time I’m terrified! He wants to look and act like me but he doesn’t know the half of it. He doesn’t know the times I fail, when I say the wrong thing, when I’m human. He wants to look like me but I want him to look so much better! But as I think about this I find hope and comfort that we both have a better Father.
I’ve been studying Romans 8 recently and I find such great comfort in these verses, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:14-15)
Through Christ we have received adoption as sons and we can cry out to God, Abba! Father! As a dad, I long to be that needle pointing toward true north. I know that when I fail, there is another Father that is our rock and redeemer.
Sons look up to their fathers, they try on their clothes, they want to look like them, they want to grow up to be like their dad. The awesome reality that Romans 8 points us to is that we have received the Spirit of adoption and we are to look towards our Father and long to look like Him.
The best way that I can figure out how to be a father is to look at My Father in Heaven. When I look at Him, I find a rock and redeemer, a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. I find comfort that when I look to live my life more like Him, I’m not just making it up as I go along but instead I’m pointing my kids to model not me but our God, our Heavenly Father.
1 John 2:12-13 says,
“I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.”
This is my prayer for fathering my children, that I would live knowing the Father and would direct them to discover Him and know the Father. To point them to their greater Father.
If you are a dad, relax, you’ll make mistakes but don’t stop trying to point your kids to their greater Father.
If you are a child, see your dad in His proper light, forgive and find your identity in the one who formed you from the beginning.
I’m older now and I fully realize my dad’s faults but I know that he was trying to point me to look at the Father. Our fathers fail us but as a dad I know the one thing I’m called to do is point my kids not to look like me but to look like their Heavenly Father. This Father’s Day I rejoice that I have received the Spirit of adoption and can cry out, Abba, Father!