No one gets to choose the #family they are born in. Isn’t it amazing? The most important individuals in our lives get to be someone we’ve been given and we’ve been given to. Depending on your situation‚ you might even feel “stuck” with the parents and family you have been given by God. So your best bet is to get a clear picture of what being a parent is supposed to be‚ try to break any cycle of failure and try to raise the level of blessing in the family you will create one day.
For men‚ ask yourself what kind of a dad would you have to be‚ if your kids were able to pick and choose you?
But I’m getting ahead of myself‚ so let’s go back to some basics.
The dad’s role within the family has been defined as one of headship in regards not only to the wife but to the whole household. (1 Cor. 11:3) This is significant because no one else has ever been established in headship over anything else in God’s created order.
Often times people refer to church leaders as “heads of churches” but this couldn’t be further from the truth since Christ is the sole Head of the Church. Nowhere in Scripture has any minister‚ preacher‚ pastor‚ prophet‚ apostle or bishop of any kind‚ been appointed as “head” over any church – locally or globally. Leaders are only “under-shepherds” with Christ‚ a role and a position of temporary and conditional stewardship with plenty of limits and clearly defined function. (Acts 20:17-35‚ 1 Peter 5:1-4‚ 1 Tim 3:1-7)
But what if we had the opportunity to pick and choose our fathers?
What if our kids had the opportunity to evaluate us before choosing us as fathers? What kind of a dad would we strive to be?
I’ve done quite a bit of reading on this subject‚ as well as observing and examining the lives of dads who would generally be considered to have succeeded as such (even though everyone succeeds and fails in different things in #parenting).
Here’s how I would describe a man’s calling as a dad‚ based on the (possibly limited) understanding I have gained in the last 25 years as a dad‚ student of the Bible‚ traveler to different cultures and student of people.
Fathers are called by God to:
- Show unconditional love and affirmation of the whole person that a child is. (this means the man has to have matured or to be in the process of maturing emotionally‚ spiritually and socially. Most importantly‚ a man has to have a clear awareness of self‚ which is not an easy thing‚ as it takes time and intentionality to get there. Emotionally and spiritually mature fathers are a great source of emotional well-being and healthy self-esteem for kids at home and outside of the home).
- Give kids moral guidance – a sense of values‚ fundamentally important beliefs‚ spiritual disciplines and a worldview (a framework of interpretation of the world). (Many dads have outsourced this to someone else – the mom‚ the church or school).
- Provide for the family’s basic needs‚ which brings a sense of security and creates an environment of learning‚ discovery and exploration (kids scrambling for their basic necessities don’t think of being adventurous and curious about the world around them‚ except for reasons of survival).
- Give children an understanding of the world and how to navigate it successfully: (This has to do with confidence. Confidence is super important to have in life. Many dads either fail to teach kids these basic things or give their kids a very negative perspective on life‚ thus setting up their kids to be mistrusting and defensive‚ which locks up their potential).
- Teach children social and survival skills: (the world is still and will always be a nasty place. Many kids get bullied because their dads didn’t teach them how to fight back – girls included. These days many people have been brainwashed to believe that the state will be there for them in their hour of need. Probably not! You have to know how to be self-reliant and survive on your own. And you need to teach your kid how to as well‚ in the event that they lose you or find themselves in a place of not being able to get help from friends and family. This happens a lot even though we don’t hear about it much).
- Positioned for success: dads can help their kids discover their unique abilities and thus position their kids for success. (Building on your strengths is called “capitalization learning” and many of us don’t know how to do this because no one has ever taken the time to help us understand our M.A.P. in the first place – our motivational abilities pattern‚ what we are good at. You can learn more about this in Arthur F. Miller’s book).
- Build an ‘eagle’s nest’: similar to eagles‚ dads (together with moms) can create a family nest that is there for the young ones to fly out of and to be able to come back to for support and nurture‚ if needed. Many a great people have succeeded and survived without such support‚ but it would be so much better to have a back up‚ a deep and wide family nest from which mom and dad can continue to give even greater blessing to their kids and also to their grandkids.
If you are a young man and the above doesn’t motivate you‚ fill you with excitement and desire to succeed so you can be all this to your family‚ you probably shouldn’t get married and have kids.
Our world is so messed up – we demand for people to pass a test showing how well they can drive a car and keep the law on the road and that’s a good thing. But we allow men and women to get married and get behind the proverbial wheel of the marriage and family “vehicle” without clearly spelling out for them what being a dad is all about and how important it is for a man to rise up above his own immaturity and choose to be a great dad. The same goes for women‚ of course.
Regardless of where this word might be finding you in your journey‚ make a decision to be a dad your kids would choose if they had a chance to choose their dad.
Young people‚ if your dad doesn’t measure up‚ please know that very few‚ if any men measure up when it comes to being a “perfect” dad. There are no flawless men as there are no flawless women. We all have come short of the “glory” of #fatherhood as defined by God in the Scriptures. But we can be open and hungry to grow‚ change and mature in His Image and with that‚ multiply His blessing to this and the next generations.
I’ve put together this brief post mostly so I can share it with young or aspiring parents I care about. Sadly‚ no one was able or willing to sit me down as a young dad and outline for me these things so I’ve had to learn as we went in the process of raising our kids. Being a dad has been the greatest‚ most central dynamic in my growth as a person and as a man. I don’t see a single element of “success” I desire or aspire to‚ without it somehow having something to do with my call to be a father and a husband.
I say this because we men are very prone to identify with what we achieve and it’s so easy to forget that whatever we achieve‚ if it doesn’t stack up well against the greatest call of all‚ we probably would have failed.