Day 158: Putting Off Childish Things

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

1 Corinthians 13:11

Becoming a father is not something that you can really go back from. Once you cross that threshold, it means you are a different person. It is a special and even sacred responsibility to care for those you help bring into the world. This will necessarily mean that you need to change your lifestyle and your habits, putting away childish things so that you change from being the child to being the parent.

For example, before I became a father, I spent a lot of time on evenings and weekends playing video games. When I became a father, I simply just had the choice between continuing playing the same amount of videogames and neglecting my child, or putting aside video games and being a father to my child. I chose the latter and though I haven’t completely put off playing video games once in a while, I make it the first priority to make sure that my family’s needs are met and that I spend quality time with my children. Luckily, my sons like videogames too, so sometimes will simply play together.

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Day 126: Father vs. Mother

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The father is always a Republican toward his son, and his mother’s always a Democrat.
-Robert Frost

In light of the context that I’ve seen between the Republicans and Democrats in my time, I think that Robert Frost couldn’t be more on the mark. It is a common tactic of children to try a difficult question on one parent and if they don’t like the answer, they go to the other parent who sees things a bit differently. Just like in politics, the greatest good usually comes when there’s a compromise and communication between the two parties.

Let your children know that you and your wife make decisions together. Discuss with your children their difficult questions and let all sides be heard. What you have decided, the decision should come from both of you so that you do not run the risk of having a house divided.

Day 116: How Fatherhood Is Like Shaving

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Being a great father is like shaving. No matter how good you shaved today, you have to do it again tomorrow. ~Reed Markham

This highlights the very reason why I don’t like shaving. There are so many things in life that you work on and see progress over time. Shaving is not one of them. Thankfully, fatherhood is. But the main point of the quote is still valid. It is not enough to be a good father one day and then neglect your duties the next. You must be consistent in being a good father. Your spouse and your children will have problems every day that will need your assistance and support.

I know when I’m tired or sick, shaving never sounds like a good idea. It is much easier to let it slide than when I am feeling well. In the same way there are many days where you don’t feel up to your hundred percent. On these days, it may be extra hard to be a good father. That is why is it a good idea to decide in advance what you think a good father looks like. Write down a few tenants by which you will live and make a decision and commitment to live by them no matter what the circumstances.

These don’t have to be fancy. They can be as simple as “a good father speaks kindly to his children. Or “a good father puts the needs of his family before himself”. Whatever you are, if you have made up your mind beforehand, it will not be as difficult when faced with the decision.

And if you had a bad day, just like when you miss a day of shaving, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just get the razor and start again.

Day 95: The Touch of the Master’s Hand

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Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin,
but held it up with a smile; “What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?” “A dollar, a dollar”; then two!” “Only
two? Two dollars, and who’ll make it three? Three dollars, once; three
dollars twice; going for three..” But no, from the room, far back, a
gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; Then, wiping the dust
from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody
pure and sweet as a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low,
said; “What am I bid for the old violin?” And he held it up with the bow.
A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two? Two thousand! And who’ll make
it three? Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, and going and
gone,” said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, “We do not
quite understand what changed its worth.” Swift came the reply: “The touch
of a master’s hand.”

And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin, A
“mess of pottage,” a glass of wine; a game – and he travels on. “He is
going” once, and “going twice, He’s going and almost gone.” But the Master
comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul
and the change that’s wrought by the touch of the Master’s hand.

Myra ‘Brooks’ Welch

This is one of my favorite works of poetry because I believe its message. There’s are many people who end up drifting through life only because there was not someone in their lives to influence them for good.

I submit that you could take the word ‘master’ and insert the word ‘father’, so that it becomes ‘the touch of the father’s hand’. I noticed that in this poem, the word ‘master’ only means someone who is a master at his craft. It is referring to talent and expertise rather than dominion.

As a father, you will watch the trails that your children have to endure. They will face different challenges than you do, but it is your responsibility to make sure that you were there for them when they need you.

Your influence in their lives might be the difference between being “auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd” or “playing a melody pure and sweet as a caroling angel sings”.

Day 91: Walking Everywhere

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A teenager once complained to his father that all of his friends had a their driver’s licenses and he did not.  His father told him. “You can get your driver’s license when you shave off that scraggily beard of yours.”

The teenager rolled his eyes and replied. “Dad, haven’t you ever seen a picture of Jesus? He had a beard. Don’t you want me to be like him?”

“Of course,” said the father. “But remember–Jesus also walked everywhere He went.”

Day 88: Two Roads

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Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

When a man becomes a father, he is presented with two choices much like these two roads that diverged yellow wood. He can step up to his fatherly responsibilities, and take the road less traveled by, or he can decide to walk away, and be less than he could be.

Being a father is not easy, nor are the fulfilling responsibilities of fatherhood popular in today’s society. Many shortsighted individuals look only at what but must be given up in order to fully be a father. They don’t look instead of the difference that a righteous father can make. In fact, having a righteous father who is a good example to his children can make all of the difference.

Day 85: Thy Will Be Done

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Sometimes our fathers ask difficult things of us. However, the task that our Heavenly Father asked his Son to accomplish was greater than them all. Atoning for the weight of the sins of mankind is simply something that we can’t imagine.

It’s too much to comprehend and it was difficult to face, even for Christ. But he prayed fervently in the Garden of Gethsemane, shortly before his crucifixion, he prayed “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).

Here he humbly asks his father if there is an alternative, but recognizes that He is not the one in charge. He understands his place and his relationship between Him and his Father. This means that when faced with a monumental task, Jesus submitted his will to His Father. This was surely a decision made out of love and respect for his Father. Jesus surely knew that this would be agonizing ordeal, and still obeyed his Father’s will.

This is a great example to us in the roles of fathers and sons. As fathers, we really do need to find what is best for children, to be wise and see the big picture. We need to have a loving relationship and the respect from our children so that when we ask them to do hard things, they will listen and obey even though they may not want to.

As sons can teach us how we are to love and respect our fathers and to humbly submit that to their righteous requests.

Question: What can I do to teach my children to love and respect my will when it is righteous?

Day 77: Bizarre Behavior

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“No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I’m not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal.”
― Bill Cosby

There’s absolutely no way to predict what you’ll do to keep your kids happy. I’ve turned into a dragon, a monster, a clown, an acrobat, a chef, a movie critic, a chauffeur, a professor, an artist, a computer technician, a auto mechanic, and so many more just to keep my kids happy.

The only way to do that  is to let go of feeling self conscious. The great thing about kids, is that they don’t make fun of you, no matter how goofy you are, at least while they are little.

Day 74: Easy to Be King

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“It is very easy to be a military strategist, a mercenary, or a king, but much harder to be a father.”
― Nadia ScrievaTides of Tranquility

I have done things in my life for which I had received welcome attention. I’ve been on stage for thousands of people at a time, and had people come ask me to autograph my books. Getting to this point took a lot of work, but they pale in comparison to my ongoing efforts at become a better father.

While both my writing and singing have brought me great satisfaction, it is nothing like the satisfaction I feel seeing my children grow and progress and feeling the genuine love they return to me every day.

Being a good day takes a lot of work, over a long period of time. People might like a book I’ve written and stay with it for a while, or clap and cheer at the end of a concert, but my work as a father will shape the lives of my children for the rest of their lives for good or ill, and then shape what kind of parents they will be.

Question:  Does being a father bring you satisfaction? Why or why not? What can you do to increase your satisfaction with fatherhood?