Friday, June 19, 2009

Being a Dad

I don't trust my kids to just anyone. Whenever Carol and I have an opportunity to go out on a date and we need to find someone to watch the kids, we ask people that we know ... people that we trust.

Ezra & Mercy were God's kids long before they were mine and a thought that just blows me a way is that, when God needed someone to watch His kids, He thought of Carol and I. He believes in us so much and trusts us enough that He gave Carol and I Ezra and Mercy. I am so humbled by that thought and really want to do my absolute best to live up to that responsibility.

One of the big thoughts that I've been thinking about being a dad is that dads shape their kids. This is in no way meant to belittle the absolutely incredible impact that moms have on their kids, but dads, for whatever reason, have an ability to influence and shape their children in an unusual way ... for good or for bad. I've talked with enough people in counseling situations and have heard how they have just longed to know their dads. So many I've talked to have told me how their view of God has been shaped by how their dad interacted or didn't interact with them ... with how their dad responded or didn't respond to them. I've heard many say that how they see themselves has been shaped by the time or the lack of time that their dads gave them.

I can see this "shaping" taking place already in Ezra's life. Below are a couple of pictures. The first one is Ezra "running miles" as he would say. He's seen me come back from runs many times. He's seen me wear that head band many times. And, now he's always wanting to put it on and "run miles ... run 4 miles." The second picture is Ezra cooking. He's "makin' apples." That cracks me up! Both of these are just two things that I do and Ezra is imitating me or, as I like to say, being shaped by me. What isn't pictured are the "cuddles" he gives to his stuffed animals, the people he says are "cute," the people he asks to pray for when we say prayers at night, the money he puts in his "piggie bank" but also says we give to God first ... all values that I am trying to instill in his young life.

When I think of Mercy, oh my goodness, the fact that what she sees in men is going to be shaped by me. How she interacts with men will be shaped by me. How she sees herself will be shaped by me. I want to do everything ... absolutely everything I can to help her see herself as beautiful and strong ... sensitive and compitent. These things will only happen with her when I am engaged with her ... not just putting in time, but truly engaged, truly interested, truly giving myself to her.

The above picture is Mercy looking out of her craddle after a nap. She woke up and did the absolute cutest thing by popping her little head up. I want to be there for those moments and I want her to know that I will be there for those moments. To know that she doesn't have to "settle" for someone to show her love, attention, and affection ... to be there enough for her so she doesn't have to go to some other guy to look for it until God brings that man I am praying for in to her life.

I also want to let my kids see me mess up ... and I'm going to do that many times in their lives. The reason for that is because I want them to know that, as much as I love them, I'm going to make mistakes with them because I'm human. I hope my mistakes will draw them to the Father that doesn't make mistakes. I in no way want to take the place of God in their lives. So, they are going to see my imperfections and my flaws and my lack of ability to do things and my fears ... they are going to see those things. I want those things to point them to a Heavenly Dad who has none of those things and wants to fill up every area of their lives.

I love being a dad. It's not easy. It's a huge responsibility. But, God believes in me enough to allow me the opportunity to do it.

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