Summary: A message on how to be a good father through all the stages of your child’s life.
June 18, 1995
They Call Me Dad
I don’t think it is possible to be ready for fatherhood. No matter how many books you read or how many classes you take, no matter how many younger siblings you had or how many of your friends have become parents, there is just nothing that really prepares you for that first night when you bring that unbelievably small bundle home from the hospital and then keep checking to make sure YOUR CHILD is still breathing. The responsibility is almost over-whelming.
Some of us have to go at it with no example to look to from our own Dads, that is rough and it should not be. I sympathize with you men who find yourself in that position; I am not one of you though because I have been blessed with a great earthly father who helped to make it easy for me to relate to the idea of a loving and caring heavenly father.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (Amp)
THEREFORE BE imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].
And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.
Christian love is sacrificial love. We are to love as Christ loved, or you could say in the same way that Christ loved, giving himself up for us. That’s what Christians do and that’s what good fathers do.
Well beloved children imitate their fathers. They see what good men they are and they want to be like that.
Although my dad did not have a great family life of his own growing up, he still managed to do a pretty good job of teaching me what it means to be a husband and father. I watched and was aware of the sacrifices he made in order to give me the good home I enjoyed.
This morning I want to share with you what I know about being a good dad.
I have decided to break it down into three parts because I think these three phases of a child’s life require different things of us as fathers and I have noticed that some men do a great job in one phase of their children’s lives only to completely blow it in another phase.
1. Parenting little children.
This is the training stage of life. This when authority is established, either you are established as the authority in the home, or your child is.
This is when the foundation of faith is laid, or not, this is when many of the thought patterns that will govern your child’s life are set down.
How does a man treat a woman?
What value do I have?
Are my ideas and feelings important?
What really matters in life; sports, church, prayer, Bible reading, family, beer and the boys?
Even when you are not thinking you are training them – you are.
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
By far this is the toughest phase; however, if you get this phase right all the others become easier. Sadly on the flip side if you neglect this phase, all the others become tougher.
I have two strong impressions from my childhood that come up whenever I am asked about my life.
From the endless summers, I remember camping with my family, setting up the site; lugging water with my brother and sister, chopping wood and learning to build a fire, and roasting marshmallows. I remember waking up in a thunderstorm, with the rain just pounding on the roof of our tent trailer, and knowing everything was fine because my dad was snoring. I remember coming out of a deep sleep on many a sunny morning to the smell of bacon on the camp stove and my dad preparing a breakfast that was fit for a king, and I was that king!
From the long cold winters in Northern Ontario I remember hockey, hockey and more hockey! My dad was always the coach and we would be out on those cold mornings, picking up other kids whose dad’s were too hung over for 6:30 am practices. I remember games on the outdoor ice when I would come to the bench with feet so cold I would want to cry, and I remember my dad unlacing my skates and taking my feet in his big warm hands and rubbing them until the feeling returned and I was ready to go back on again. I remember nights when there was nothing on TV so dad and I would head out to the rink to watch the “big kids” play junior hockey! I swear those games rivaled anything you’d see on the TV today; maybe because they weren’t about hockey at all, they were about a boy spending time with his dad.