There you are…quitely lurking away from view. Your prey doesn’t see you and you are getting ready to pounce. One wrong move and you will scare them away. You can’t afford to make a noise or you will lose the hunt. Everything is riding on this moment…then you strike. TICKLE MONSTER!!!!!!!! Your heart and life instantly fills with laughter as your children succomb to the power that comes with identifying pressure points on the body meant for tickling. You are a father. You are awesome and you know it. Then, as soon as it started, it abuptly ends in a crash! You just broke something. Something Mommy really likes. Kids and Daddy are now in trouble. Oh, but it was worth it.
There have been so many times during my work day where I will start laughing simply thinking about my kids. I will look at a picture on my desk, and start cracking up. In that picture, my daughter is making that face. You know what face I am talking about. I can’t help it. I love them so much. Fatherhood is the most rewarding discipleship ministry I am involved in. It just is.
Fatherhood, in general, is like that…it is not all perfect and happy, but the reward is amazing. The problem is, fathers are becoming an endangered species. The male reproductive contributor has not been decreasing in popularity, but fathers have…why is this?
I think there are 5 main reasons why fathers are becoming an endangered species.
1. It is difficult– When it comes to discipline, consistency, and the expectation of provision, the role of a father becomes harder and harder when one is fully involved. Mommy definitely has an extremely hard job, but both parents should be active in the life of a child. Sometimes it is easy to default to anger, lethargy, or a general disconnection with th fatherly role. In my personal experience, it is hard to work a full day and get home in time to play with my children a few hours before bed time. It can be taxing and I find myself turning my mind and heart on autopilot. Dad, fight this temptation. Don’t allow yourself to become jaded or remote.
2. Sometimes work comes before family– This is a dangerous attitude to be in. It is easy to default to this mode when we feel like the full provision of the household rests on our shoulders. We become stressed and determined to make sure that our sweat and effort will produce more and more. Granted, this is the most traditional view of a father, and many households do not reflect this expectation, but there are so many that do. We have to remember that we are not alone in our fight and we are not called to venture through this role alone. Relying soley on our strength will eventually lead to collapse. Do not worship your work, and let yourself believe that you are defined by your occupation or how much money is in your account. We shouldn’t walk away from our responsibilities, but we can not forsake our first call.
3. We think kids come before spouse– Now, I know that many families are single parent households, and this will not apply to everyone, but I think it is still important to say. Your spouse comes first. Why do I say this? I say this because God has put you together for a lifetime…to grow, love, and team teach a new generation. Your children will be with you for 18-21 years…your spousal relationship will be for a lifetime. Plus, your kids need to see affection, respect, conflict resolution, and laughter among their parents. If you are a single father, your child needs to see the respect for the people around you. You are an example to them.
4. We are not fully involved– This is a simple one to understand. Quantity time and quality time are both important. Not valuing these things can be detrimental to fathers. It’s okay to look foolish while acting in a spontaneous make-believe play. It is okay to knock things over while wrestling. It is okay to care about what kind of diapers, crafts, and education your children is receiving. In fact…it is amazing.
5. The role has been under emphasized– One of my pet peeves involves this very thing. An example would be found in the countless times I see people posting questions on social media asking for parenting advice. The question always starts like this, “Okay Mom’s, I have an opinion question…Junior is not sleeping at night and I was wondering…” Did you catch it? Just one time, I want to read a question that says, “Dad’s! What ways have you gotten your kids to eat vegetables?” It is a minor thing, but we have done this to ourselves…fathers have almost been removed from the conversation of the daily operations of parenting and this is unacceptable. We have to reclaim this…
I realize that there are men out there that have been praying for a long time for the opportunity to be a father. I know many in this situation, and I propose we take some regular time out of our day to pray for those in this situation. It can be hard to wait/ fervently pray any amount of time for God to bring this blessing.
Love you all. Fight the good fight.