One of the aspects of being a Dad that is both very difficult and very rewarding is that it is an art, not a science. There are no formulas, so 5 steps or principles that automatically produce the desired results, no recipe with a carefully measured set of ingredients. It changes every day. It is a constantly shifting alchemist’s brew of inherited physical characteristics, behavior modification, playful interaction and spiritual guidance that demands a hug and kiss one moment, a wooden spoon the next, smiling approval and verbal correction and constant prayer. It is the fearful burden and unspeakable privilege of shepherding another human being toward their fullness and destiny as a child of God. It doesn’t come with an instruction manual or programming protocol. But we have been given all of the resources that we need in God’s Word and Presence and in examples that have been placed all around us in every arena of life – from nature to entertainment to our circle of relationships. I am blessed in that my own Dad has been a great example to learn from and emulate but I know that isn’t true for everyone. But almost everyone knows a great Dad – even if they didn’t have one. And if they don’t know one in person, there stories of great Dads all around if one is willing to look.
In short, Fatherhood is a dance, one in which we are called to lead and follow at the same time. It is a dance with a constantly changing rhythm which can seem in some moments achingly slow and tedious but in the big picture is racing by us at a breathtaking speed. Like all dances, when done well it can be beautiful beyond words. It can also feel unbelievably awkward. It also doesn’t work well when one is self-conscious. Dancing works best when you go for it and have fun. Same with Fatherhood.
I love being a Dad. It is an awe-inspiring privilege and an adventure unlike any other. If you are a Dad, there is very little that you can possibly do in this world that is more important or has a bigger impact than Fathering well. Dad, you are needed desperately. But what a joy it is to be a Dad.