I met my beautiful bride through our old school district and we have two beautiful daughters together. Some would certainly argue that our daughters were our third and fourth children, considering our attachment to our two other four-legged miniature dachshunds.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
What exactly does it mean to be a good father?
For some of us, the word “father” evokes emotions of fear, anger, uncertainty or hurt. On the other hand, there are those who find great security in the word – feelings of gratitude may arise upon hearing this powerful word. Oftentimes it serves as a word that is directly related to one’s identity or self-worth.
As a father, I struggle with the concept of exactly what it means to be a good father. Even though I cannot help but smile as I think of my little girls running into my arms to greet me whenever I get home from a long day’s work, I often wonder if what I’m doing is enough.
If I stop and look around to pop culture for the answer, I notice that Hollywood has managed to make things harder on men. Pressure in our marriages can be overwhelming thanks to risqué sitcoms on Netflix. Husbands can be portrayed in a negative fashion when it comes to our role in the family. Wives can be harder to connect thanks to novels featuring graphic content – and men can be just as guilty as we tend to fantasize about life full of action and drama. Bedtime routines with our children have to become more creative since the images on the page don’t move. We may find ourselves performing reverse hostage negations with our children – we become willing to do anything to get them to simply stay in their rooms.
We simply get robbed by Hollywood.
Bringing my children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord is a daily battle. I am unable to create a textbook answer as to what exactly this looks like, but I certainly know that I will not find the answer by turning on the TV. I also acknowledge that this instruction may be a foreign concept as it may not be what many of us experienced in childhood or in the present.
With Father’s Day just around the corner, this topic is even more relevant as I continue to struggle with this concept of being a good father. To many, it may seem like an impossible task, especially when encountering scripture such as Matthew 5:48: “You therefore must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”
Perfection? As if this monumental task wasn’t intimidating enough, I now have to strive for perfection in fatherhood?
I will be the first to admit, and I’m certain my wife will back me up, that I am far from perfect when it comes to being a father. More importantly, while I strive for perfection, Matthew 5:48 is a great reminder that I have a duty to remind myself, my children and others that we all have a Heavenly Father who is perfect.
Father’s Day is a celebration for all! For the last eight years, Father’s Day has been one of my favorite holidays, and this year I’m even more excited to help remind my daughters that while I desire to be a good father, I will have many shortcomings. However, they were created, are loved and forever held in the arms of someone much greater than me.
He’s a Father who loves us simply due to the fact that it’s who He is.
“You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am”
– Chris Tomlin
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