You don’t think too much about being a father until it is staring you right in the eyeballs! Questions you’ve never asked yourself before start popping in your head like daisies. How will I grow my son into a man? What tone of voice should I use for discipline? Should I meet with him weekly when he’s older? When is the appropriate time to talk about “guy things”? How much time should I spend with just my wife or just my son? What should I tell him when he falls in love? What should I tell him about his future? There are a whole lot of whats, hows, whens, and whys flying through my head.
You don’t think too much about being a father until it is staring you right in the eyeballs! Questions you’ve never asked yourself before start popping in your head like daisies.
On top of that multitude of questions, there is another fear floating around. I know, no matter how hard I try—no matter how many parenting books I read or parenting videos I watch—somewhere down the line I will hurt this innocent kid to the point of leaving an emotional scar. Somewhere down the line I’m going to say or do something that he will remember with a cringe of pain. What am I supposed to do with that realization? How does anyone go into parenting feeling like they are ready or have it all under control?
I heard the oft-said “Christian-ese” idiom that marriage is God’s refining tool for making two individuals more into his likeness and image. I’ve been wondering, however, will being a parent be an even greater refining tool?
Here’s my thought process on this. Picture a marriage as two different rocks that are constantly rubbing together. Every bump and indent is magnified. Sometimes sparks will fly, sometimes chips will bust off, but no matter how much you rub them together they are still rocks. They have been shaped and formed over the years of life’s different experiences and perspectives. These rocks are distinctly different and will always remain so.
With a kid, it seems a little different. Picture a child as a mirror and a blank slate at the same time. A mirror because almost everything you do will be in some way reflected in your little one. Words that absent-mindedly escape your mouth will fly out of the toddler’s mouth two weeks later. The way mom walks in high heels on a fancy night will be mirrored in a little girl realizing how big those shoes actually are. A blank slate because this kid’s whole world revolves around you. Their every experience and perspective is a product of the experience and perspective you give them. Everything from their theology to their language is taught by you! A person’s most formative and impressionable eighteen years are in your hands. No pressure, right? If those two things do not draw you to more Christ-like behavior, I’m not sure what will.
Needless to say, I’m a little intimidated. I’m about to have a crying ball of constant need whose whole world revolves around the choices I make. Dear God, help me!
Perhaps the bottom line of all this is to simply see fatherhood as a walk. A journey. An adventure, with its high mountain climbs and dark valley trudges. To realize that the shared path that has now been set before my son and I must be taken one step at a time, and to beg God to be watchful of the path ahead and the steps I take today.
To realize that the shared path that has now been set before my son and I must be taken one step at a time, and to beg God to be watchful of the path ahead and the steps I take today.
I’m scared…but I am excited. I’m about to hold my son in my arms for the very first time. I’m going to kiss his little head, fingers, and toes until he whines at me to stop. I’m going to softly say his name every time I see the brightness in his newborn eyes.
This path we walk, little one, will be an interesting adventure… and I am glad to be venturing it with you.
Summit Adventure realizes the adventurous qualities of fathers raising their children. The highs and lows with the curves and straightaways. An adventure not intended to be done alone. Summit’s Adventures in Fatherhood courses provide a community of support for fathers and their kiddos and a chance to step back from busy civilization and toward one another. Click on the banner below for more information.