I am admittedly a “young” father – both in age, and in the ages of my girls, 7 and 5. I know that I have much to experience and learn about being a father – and about life, through being a father. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t learned anything thus far, or lack something worth sharing. School is eternally in session. Being a father, or as I prefer it, “Daddy,” has taught me so much about life, and Life. I am grateful for the “treasures” thus far – and excited about those that are to come.
So, in honor of Father’s Day, 2013, here are a few scattershootings of lessons and experiences that, to this point, I treasure about fatherhood:
- I couldn’t properly conceive of God’s Love of me – until I became a Daddy. I always heard about God’s Love for me. I even believed it, mostly. But I began to really grasp it when I was able to stare at a newborn person that I had a part in creating. And when that person spoke to me for the first time. And when that person hugged and kissed me. Time stands still in those moments. I bet it does for God too, when we return His Love back to Him. God’s Love is more tangible to me through the experience of loving, and receiving love, from my kids.
- My girls will begin to properly conceive God’s Love of them – through me. I know many, many Christians who unfortunately only know a God who is demanding, dictatorial, hard and distant. It’s not surprising that this is the same view they have of their earthly fathers. I want my girls to know God as “Daddy” Himself – as Love – full of adventure, Grace and wonderment. That starts with me being a channel of those truths of Him – to them.
- The greatest eternal gift I can give my kids is to love Jesus. Like it or not (and I love it), my kids will learn (or not) about Jesus Christ from me first and foremost. It is not enough that I just tell them about Him. They must see Him lived out in me. I want my girls to have volumes of testimony as to their knowing of the Lord – I want that to start with how they learned of Him by observing His Life in their Daddy.
- The greatest earthly gift I can give my kids is to love their Mom. I want my girls to grow up still believing in the magic of marriage, as God intended it. I want them to see me head over heels for their Mommy. I want them to see me give her love spanks on the butt, bear hugs, and lots and lots of kisses. I want them to see me serving her, sacrificing for her. I want them to see me pray with her, and for her. I want them to believe that chivalry and gentlemen still exist – and that when the time comes – they should not settle for anything less. I want them to say when they are in their twenties and thirties what I hear them innocently say today, that, “Daddy, I want my husband to be just like you.” In fact, when the time comes, I want them to say, “Daddy, my husband is just like you!”
- If I can’t be silly with my kids, then who can I be silly with? And isn’t life about being silly more often? By nature, I can be a pretty serious fella. This is a good thing at times, and has also been a hinderance. I love how being a Daddy reminds me to not take life, or myself, too seriously. Being silly is sooooo good. I recommend it highly.
- It is so important to live in and nurture a “Princess” wonder. I have girls, so I have “princesses.” Whether it’s princesses, or princes (or warriors, knights, ninjas, etc.), I delight in the wonder of fantasy. The Truth is, we are Royalty in Jesus. I hope my girls never leave the realm of knowing to Whom they are in fact, a Princess.
- For my kids, it begins and ends with my presence. My girls don’t care what I do for a living, or how much money I make, or what car I drive, or where we live. They don’t care how many friends I have, or followers on Twitter. They don’t care what I should or could be doing in a moment’s time (including writing a blog about being their Daddy – which is one reason this post has taken me all day to write – and that is so ok!). All they care about is me – being there – with them. Not just there in body, looking at TV or a book or my phone – but there. Present. Presence is powerful. When we realize God’s Presence in us – when we really realize it – it changes everything. When kids realize, really realize that their Daddy is present with them – it changes everything.
- Being present means doing, and finding joy in things that they love. I’m gonna admit something…I really don’t like playing Barbie’s. My girls? They love it. They really, really love to play Barbie’s. And they really, really love for their Daddy to play the “boy” parts. Oftentimes, me being present with my girls means sitting on the floor for hours, fake talking through Barbie characters, in Barbie worlds. I’ve learned to find joy in this, not for the Barbie’s, but for my girls.
- When I find joy in their interests, they find joy in mine. My girls LOVE the Texas Rangers. They love going to the ballpark and everything about the game of baseball and my (our) team. They love TCU and the color purple. They love Jeeps. They love to workout. They love playing golf and basketball. They are crazy about Jesus. While they are decidedly their own people, with their own unique likes/dislikes, it amazes me at how many of my passions are their passions. Their presence with me is equally fulfilling as mine is with them.
- I need to be VERY careful with where my passions lie. In regards to the previous, it is so evident that the “little eyes” are indeed watching, and the “little feet” are following me. Baseball, basketball, golf, Jeeps, the Rangers and TCU are all ok for my girls to follow me into loving. I am now evermore careful, though, to make sure my own eyes are fixed on Jesus – so that as their eyes are fixed on me, they find themselves fixed on Him.
- Bath-time, while still appropriate, is special, special time. Marie and I never specifically set out to delineate duties this way, but somehow, from week one of being a Daddy – bath-time has been mine. I have always been the one to give the girls their baths. As they were infants laying in 2 inches of water, this was cute and special. But as they’ve gotten older, “special” doesn’t do it justice for me. Bath-time is set apart time for me to play, be silly (see above), and talk – really talk – to my girls. It’s just me, them and Scuba-Steve (just kidding, but there are plenty of Barbie’s of course). This time will only be appropriate for a few more years – and I am dearly looking forward to it each evening.
- I love watching my kids fail. Don’t get me wrong, on the surface I don’t like seeing my girls struggle with anything. But “seeing” things with Other eyes, I realize that it is by struggle, and failure that character is developed, growth occurs, and Life happens. Delaney tried to tie her shoes for 2 hours today – and would not let me help her. As I saw her fight and fight and get frustrated and even cry – it was tough. But then she DID it! And it was glory.
- It is ok, so ok, for my girls to see me fail. As awesome as it is to have your kids look at you like you’re a superhero, I want them to know that I am not perfect. I want them to be able to understand the difference between the inherent weakness of my own life, and the perfection of the Life of Christ that indwells me. I want them to know my testimony. I want that to be a part of theirs.
- There is no prayer as intense as praying over my girls. I am a man of prayer. I have seen the Lord do supernatural things through prayer that would blow your mind. I believe prayer is the most powerful weapon and gift that we have as Christians. I am never more moved and Alive as when I am laying a hand on my sleeping child and whispering a prayer over them to their Creator. Prayers are prophecies. I believe that one of my greatest responsibilities and privileges as their Daddy is to intercede for them, and to speak into their destinies through prayer. For me, the space between Heaven and Earth is thinnest in these places in time.
- I learn more of Jesus from my kids. In the same way that my girls need to see Jesus lived in me, and learn of Him through me – I see Him in them, and learn of Him through them. I am learning to love my daughters on a level that is deeper even than parent/child or father/daughter love. I am learning to love the Jesus Christ in them. As they mature into a deeper realization of His Life in them, I am beyond excited about what I will learn of Him – in them.
So there you go – 15 Treasures of Fatherhood. Maybe I’ll make this a yearly thing. It will be fun to see how the Lord opens my eyes to even more. After all, our Heavenly Daddy has a Son who is unsearchable in His riches. I have a feeling being a Daddy on earth is alot like that too.