The most significant privilege I have is being a Dad. I can remember the moment when my life changed forever, and I held Katie for the first time. She was finally here. She had not done anything but be born, and I already was the proudest Dad in the world. Then Reuben came along and again I was made up and over the moon.
People had given us the scare stories like, you will never sleep again for six months. They were right. Going out will never be the same, you will need to bring everything with you, including the kitchen sink, they were right. I do not deny functioning on two hours sleep was hard, but what a privilege. It is by far the most fulfilling thing in my life – being a Dad. With that privilege though comes responsibility and it means stepping up to the plate.
My kids are at the stage where they think I can do everything, fix everything, and have an answer for everything. The reality is one day they will grow up and see for themselves that is not the case. So, can I make the most of this time and affect their lives for good. What is some of the stuff as a Dad I can do for my kids, what could they learn from me?
First up and top of the shop – Ride a bike.
This is the fun part. That first moment of watching Katie cycle on her own for the first time with no stabilizers was a proud moment. There was a sense of achievement, excitement, and that was just me. I only get one crack at this because if I were to hold her on her bike now, I would get the death stare.
Secondly – how to have a laugh.
Katie and Reuben think I am the funniest person in the world – they said so themselves on the church Father’s Day video over lockdown. I will take that. They get their sense of humour from me and their brains from their mum. I will let you decide where their looks came from. I am always raking about with them, especially at bedtime when Nichola has them just settled, and I come in from church. They are the best boost for when things did not go as well as I predicted.
Thirdly and now it is getting serious – Stick up for themselves.
I make no bones about this; Katie and Rueben will be told to stick up for themselves and for each other. I want them to know the difference between right and wrong, when to be firm with others and when not to overact. They are growing up in different times when I was their age. Still, I know there will come a moment when they will need to be ready to stick up for themselves and when that moment comes I want them to be prepared to look after themselves and each other.
Next – Respect your mummy.
You only get one mummy, and for them, it is Nichola. She is the best mum for our kids and does everything she can for them, and I love her. This is where the power, of example, really comes into the equation. They watch me as a dad in I how to speak to Nichola and treat her. A Dad is the most powerful example in a child’s life, and in this area, they will follow me. They need to see me love, encourage, support, and say sorry to Nichola and not be passive or distant.
Lastly, for now – make a home somewhere they want to be.
Katie and Reuben see everything that goes on in our home. When the front door is closed, I want as a dad for the home to be a place where they feel safe, loved and fun. I want a home to be just that – home. Somewhere they can be themselves and come home to mum and Dad.
I have not referred to scripture so far in all of this, but I will now. In Luke 15, Jesus gives us this picture of a father and son relationship. During his young life, the son wanted to change things up a little and be more rebellious. He hits rock bottom. His world has fallen apart, but what I love about this story is this, there was a place called home he was always wanted and welcome there. More than that there was a dad he could still turn too. This dad was flexible.
When the son asked for his share in the inheritance, he was basically wishing his Dad to be dead. Fairly sure as the father that stung a little. Did it stop him loving the son? No. Did it stop him giving his son his inheritance? No. He was flexible enough to let him live his life. The father did not compromise his standards, he had raised his son well but recognized there came a moment where he had to choose for himself.
We then have this image of the father running to the son when he came home. Luke 15:20 says “When he was a great way off, his father saw him”. I love that. That can only mean the father was watching every day for him to come home. The father wanted him home, and the son was welcome home after everything he had done, he still had a dad and a home to go too. Part of the reason the father wanted to get to him first was to hide his shame from the others in town.
So, he gets to the son, and he kisses him, the son does not even get to finish his rehearsed speech. The father just says, “Bring the ring, bring the robe, bring the shoes, bring the calf because we are having a party.”
What do I want in years to come for Katie and Reuben? That there is a home they can always come home too and a Dad who loves them no matter what.