Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fatherhood Reflections

It’s Fathers Day, and I’ve just finished reading “Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single Income Family” by Steven Maxwell. So, it might be time for a few fatherhood reflections.

I’ve been blessed by having a Dad who has been a great role model. He’s even tempered, patient, diligent about providing for the family and hardworking around the house. I’m thankful for my Dad and all he has taught me over the years. Now, as an adult, I’m aware that not every man had a Dad like mine to guide and shape me as I grew up.

But of course I now have a son of my own, to guide and shape. Part of that is in giving him a variety of experiences. But a bigger part of guiding and shaping him is in how I present myself as a role model. So for example, if he sees me being lazy, he will grow up thinking that work is something to be avoided. But on the other hand, if he sees a good attitude in his Dad, as well as a balanced approach to all the types of work I must do, then he’ll see something worth emulating in his own life.

I haven’t always been diligent about working around the house. Yes, I work very hard in my job. And I work very hard in the Christian ministries activities I’m involved in. And I do spend a lot of time with my family. But when it comes to the house I haven’t been the best role model. This weekend I’ve tried to work on that. I mowed the lawn, cleaned the garage (with Hannah in tow), cleaned up the cars, repaired the hole in the side of my van’s door, cleaned my desk and painted the children’s swing set. Yes, I still had time for other activities, including some entertainment. But I feel I did a more credible job around the house, much as my own Dad did for me.

Perhaps it’s a sign of the weakness of our society that we have a low view of work. Many of us view adulthood as a sort of super-childhood. At last we have the income to indulge our interests and pursue entertainment. We see it as our right, and we get grumpy if anything gets in the way between us and our interests. We work for 8 hours each workday and the rest of our time is our own. But of course when a man has this attitude it will bring his family to ruin. It will bring his family to ruin even in a strictly secular sense, but from a Christian viewpoint it’s even worse. From a Christian viewpoint all our time belongs to God. That’s not to say we don’t have legitimate amusements and times of laughter and play. But life is about much more than play, and a mature outlook on life invests our work with deep significance. I must be diligent about my work because that is what a man does. A child looks for infinite opportunities to play; a man takes satisfaction in his work.


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