Does your Father’s Day celebration generate questions like, “Where will I ever wear this goofy tie?” I recall the Betty Boop special my wife allowed the girls to buy for me. I served on the usher rotation at church and thought I was safe to wear the Betty tie on my weekend off. Of course, a slacker bailed out that morning, and the team was a man down. I collected the offering in a stuffy Baptist church sporting that outrageous tie. I’m a dad, and that’s what we do.
As we ponder our father responsibilities piercing questions unsettle our souls.
- How am I doing in this role?
- What resoluteness am I pouring into my kids?
- Does my dad-rating depend on my children becoming mini-me’s?
- Will my achievement be defined by how independently my kids stand on their own feet?
- Is the proof of my dad skills wrapped in their ability to make good decisions?
- How will my success be measured?
That’s heavy stuff for a summer afternoon, and the hard truth is we may not know the result of our fathering job until it’s too late to change the outcome. That somber thought pushed me to the porch swing for some reflection. As the swing chain creaked out its melodious tune, I analyzed these complex questions and drilled into the nether regions of introspection. I hear you—I should have napped instead.
As a dad I provide resources, training, and opportunity. Much of my children’s destiny rests in their own hands as they decide how to utilize their provisions. Here’s a word of encouragement, men. Our success as dads depends on obedience to our marching orders. By way of reminder, here’s a summary of those orders.
Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13 NASB
Be on the alert.
Jesus distilled this message into two one-word commands as He entered the Garden of Gethsemane the night before the crucifixion. He instructed His disciples to watch and pray. With soaring self-confidence they failed miserably. The disciples fell asleep at their post. Dads, we check that the doors are locked to protect the family. We establish a perimeter for our kids and teach rules designed to safeguard them. We must remain vigilant and prayerful.
Stand firm in your faith.
Buildings erected on unstable foundations settle, sag and crack. Lives constructed on the wrong principles suffer a similar fate. Fathering is a challenging proposition and smart men seek wise counsel. God, the greatest Father, offers His wisdom for the asking. Beyond instilling loyalty in our children to a particular sports team or NASCAR driver are the weighty questions about God, life, love and the future. How am I sharing these ideas with my children? Let’s agree to show our kids that Dad has no qualms about believing and standing up for his faith.
Act like a man.
Laughter is great medicine, and dads should be first in family fun and frivolity. We have so many practical jokes and dad-isms to pass to the kids (like Pull My Finger). Dads also have a serious role as leaders and examples. Our children don’t need a forty-year-old buddy. They need a father who will model the lines of appropriate behavior and expect the same from his children.
Strength for dads is not about the number of pounds we can bench-press, miles we can pedal, or laps we can swim. Strength refers to our life habits. A dad should be:
- Strong enough to love Mom and support her.
- Strong enough to say “I love you” with words and actions.
- Strong enough to submerge his arm in the toilet up to the elbow to retrieve a sunken toy.
- Strong enough to apologize when he’s wrong.
- Strong enough to switch the channel when the images and dialogue are not wholesome.
- Strong enough to sacrifice his hobby-time to play games with his kids.
- Strong enough to read the Bible aloud as the family gathers around.
- Strong enough to call his children’s names in fervent prayer.
- Strong enough to discipline, encourage, or praise as the moment demands.
- Strong enough to lead by example.
That’s the view from the porch swing. Happy Father’s Day, men. May God bless you in the coming year.