Seven years ago an event happened in my life that changed me forever. Before that day I had been a boy, one of the guys, a man, and even a husband. But on April 23rd, 2007, I became a dad!
Every father knows the awe of that first moment when you awkwardly hold your own child in your arms. The awe soon gives way to the sheer weight of responsibility that this precious life – this family – has been entrusted to your care. If we’re honest, we’ve all had times when we’ve been scared to death, wondering how we are supposed to handle all that now rests upon our shoulders. I think it’s good to always be aware that we are unable to fulfill this role without God’s help. Yet even with all the responsibility, most of the time being a dad is pretty awesome! Here are seven of my favorite things about being a father to my young kids – one for each year that I have been a part of Club Dad.
1. I get to be the strongest person in the world.
Basically anyone who knows me understands that I’m not the strongest guy in the world…or in our town…or on my block, for that matter. But in our home, I am the strongest! In fact, my kids can’t really fathom anyone anywhere being stronger and tougher than their Dad! I am to them the epitome of strength.
I know you may be laughing, but I love it. I may not be your security, but I am theirs. I may not be your rock in life, but I am for my kids – at least for now! In fact, as their father, I represent God to them. Obviously I am not God, but when my kids are still small, I’m the closest thing to omnipotence they can imagine. Quite a responsibility! I am the most knowledgable and powerful being in their little world. That doesn’t puff me up – it humbles me to consider that my children are looking to me as an example of what God is like.
2. I get to be a real-life super hero.
Every little boy wants to grow up to become a super hero. Unless I can find a radioactive spider or something soon, those dreams are probably not going to materialize after all. However, I was able to grow up to be a dad, and though you’ll never find a comic book or blockbuster movie made about my adventures, I do at least have a fan club of three (four if I can get my wife to join)!
It’s hard to describe the sense of wonder I have when I see my kids gaze up at me with a look of almost adoration! I get plenty of other looks, too, in case you’re wondering. But that one is my favorite. If you know me, you’d know I’m far from perfect, and I’m no super hero, but please don’t tell my kids. They still believe it!
Like the Bible says, “The glory of children are their fathers.” Proverbs 17:6
3. I get to greatly influence someone’s life.
My kids are a reflection of me. Everything I say and do is being absorbed into their little lives. That’s both a frightening thought and a wonderful opportunity. It means that to help influence my children toward what is right, the biggest hurdle is just changing myself. More is caught than is taught, they say. As parents, we have the chance to create an environment and a current that pulls them toward that which is right.
All children have their own will, and eventually have to make their own decisions. But we have the great power to point them in the right (or wrong) direction by the way we live. The Bible compares raising kids to shooting arrows. Aim them right, and they should hit their mark when you let them go.
“As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.” Psalm 127:4
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
4. I get to learn a lot more about my Heavenly Father.
I feel that I’ve learned more about the ways of God in the last seven years of being a father, than I did in all the years before that! Many things are clearer to me now:
- His unconditional love for me, though I have so little to offer Him.
- His patience with me, as I am so slow to grow and learn.
- His protection, even when I don’t realize it.
- His provision, in taking care of my needs.
- His care, listening to my prayers.
- His wisdom, in not giving me everything I ask for.
- His chastening, keeping me in the right way for my own good.
“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Matthew 7:11
5. I get to make (and bend) the rules.
Raelynn (our middle daughter) told me recently, “I think you and Mom should go live in another house.”
“Oh, really?” I responded. “Why is that?”
“Because then Cameron and Madi and me could do whatever we wanted, and there would be no one to tell us what to do.”
It’s true. My kids know that Dad and Mom are the bosses. Wouldn’t it be great to be the one in charge? Then you could make all the rules! Yes, actually, it is pretty great! But I think the best part is being the one who gets to decide when to bend the rules.
Sometimes bedtime gets suspended so we can squeeze in one more round of “Go Fish.” Sometimes we get to eat ice cream on the couch, while watching a movie, instead of always at the table! And once in a while, we even skip bed altogether and camp out in the living room! Routines and rules are good. But so is changing them up from time to time.
6. I get to hold the remote.
Seriously, who didn’t envy their dad a little when they were growing up that he always got to hold the remote? He had full control over what program to watch, when the television was on or off, and even how loud it would be. Now I get to hold the remote and the control is all mine! Mwa-ha-ha (evil laugh)!
On the more responsible side, this also means that Dad ought to control all the different kinds of entertainment coming into the house and being absorbed by his kids. Even when he is not home, Dad should still “hold the remote.” We should always know what our kids are watching, and what they are listening to. We can’t let their entertainment undermine all the values we are trying to instill in them.
7. I get to act like a kid.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never outgrown building Lego’s, eating macaroni and cheese, and watching cartoons! And since I’m a dad, I still have an excuse for all those things! With two daughters I’ve even added new activities like tea time and playing with dolls. Yikes!
Now I know there’s some guy out there who’s rolling his eyes, thinking that I’ve lost my “man card,” and that I should go do more “guy stuff” instead of all this child’s play. To him I would say, there is nothing more manly than a father who will get down on his knees to spend time doing what his kids love. Besides, my kids won’t be around that long. The days of Lego’s and Nerf wars and tea parties will be over in a few short years, but the memories made doing those things will last a lifetime! I want my kids to remember a Dad who was responsible and hard working, but also was fun enough to get down on his knees to play with them.
There is probably no job on the planet that carries as much responsibility as being a dad! But we have to be willing to hang some of our exhaustion and stress at the door when we get home. Do I always feel like mustering up all that energy in the evening to chase them around the house like a bear, or for endless rounds of hide and seek? Not usually! But it’s important to them! It may be one of the hardest jobs in the world (second only to being a mother), but if you’ll keep your priorities in the right place, fatherhood can also be the most fun you’ve ever had in your life!
“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Psalm 127:3