If you mentioned fatherhood to me twenty years ago, I would have trembled at the thought. I was a young, impressionable eighteen-year-old kid ready to live my life on my terms. Children would derail the exciting adventures I had in mind.
When I turned thirty-one, something changed. I welcomed impending fatherhood like someone’s grandmother at a Thanksgiving homecoming. The thought of fatherhood made me tremble, but for different reasons this time. My eighteen-year-old self said, “I CAN’T be someone’s dad”. My thirty-one-year-old self said, “Wow, I’m GOING TO BE someone’s dad”. This time the fear was awe-inspired. Little old me? Someone’s dad?
I’m a little over six years into the journey and I’ve loved every moment. Today, I wanted to share seven thoughts on fatherhood that I thought may resonate with other fathers.
1. Fatherhood is a sanctifying work.
Look, I thought marriage helped with my sanctification. And does it ever! Especially when my wife uses my hairbrush, doesn’t leave my stuff where I left it, and generally invades space that I otherwise deem sacred (read: my study).
But these kids. Lord, these kids. “Go, brush your teeth buddy.” 40 minutes later…he’s just standing in the bathroom staring in the mirror making faces. Fatherhood will develop all the fruit of the Spirit, y’all. Every last one of them!
2. Fatherhood is a journey toward selflessness.
I used to say I never knew how selfish I was until I got married. Add fatherhood to the mix and I can’t tell you the number of layers of selfishness it’s helped peel back (painfully, I might add).
There are some nights when I just want to binge watch my favorite shows. Then these words melt my soul like butter in a hot skillet: “Daddy, you want to hang out?” There are some days when I put just the right amount of a side dish on my plate to compliment my main course. Until my daughter wants some. Right then, those perfect portions remind me of my imperfect bias for all things “me”.
3. Fatherhood is a healing balm.
I grew up with and absentee father. Practicing presence in my children’s lives has healed past wounds of fatherlessness and drawn me close to God as Father.
4. Fatherhood is future-oriented.
I won’t live forever. Fatherhood makes me think of my own mortality. But it also makes me want to leave my children with a future. A future I hope lets them know their dad loved them as precious gifts from God.
5. Fatherhood is an emotional experience.
Many men take pride in cloaking their emotions. Something about fatherhood discards that cloak and provides men with emotional balance. The random motorcycle lip noises, hugs, kisses, smiles, and laughs give men freedom to express emotions we otherwise call unmanly.
6. Fatherhood is a lesson in stewardship.
I know I’m called to steward my finances, but it’s humbling to know that I’m also called to steward my own children. How are they spending their time? Developing their talents? How am I taking care of these precious lives entrusted to me? I spend currency, but with my children, I am more interested in where they spend eternity.
7. Fatherhood is a testament of God’s grace.
We hear so many stories about deadbeat dads, but there are men out there who are present in their children’s lives. Personally, the fact that I’m a father is nothing but God’s grace. I once had no desire for children. Now I can’t fathom life without them. That kind of heart change only takes place through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Every time I look at my children one word comes to mind. Grace. I’m grateful for that daily reminder. Even if it comes in the form of a microscopic Lego strategically placed as a late night stumbling block.