Happy Father’s Day. I hope the children will this weekend remember to call you, tag you on their Instagram flashbacks, buy you happy socks (or an iPad), take you out for a movie or a game or buy you a good lunch. If they are still Littles, accept the goofy card on green manilla that was made with a lot of love and effort and help from their teacher. And if they haven’t yet gone to school, a hug and messy kiss full of oats or yoghurt will still do.
You see, Father’s Day is going to be about celebrating every big and small contribution that fathers make, from donating your great genes, a name, tribe and presence. It will be be about thanking you for denying yourself, making sacrifices and sweating some blood and a few tears to make sure your children are fed, full, safe, schooled, disciplined, mentored, loved. It’s also going to be a day of finding out from your littles or not so littles, from their mother and from society how you can better fill those huge shoes of “daddy.”
My son once told me when he grows up he wants to be a daddy. From observing his father, he must have thought that there is no greater job on earth for a man and I see why. I love the daily reunion that happens at my door when Mr M gets home to be met with a big hug by two little pairs of hands and the squeals of “daddy” that follow. They then carry his laptop and lunch bags plus any other baggage or goodies that are in tow. Often they will remember to call him just before he leaves for home to ask for balloons or Kinderjoy. The rewards of being a parent.
I suspect it must be hard being a father, especially when you are expected to lead a way when you are unsure of yourself or your capabilities. In an article I read today, Denise Glen, the leader of an international women’s ministry, tells her husband this: “Babe, you are the spiritual leader of the home. I’m right behind you. I’m with you. Whatever you decide, I’m with you and I’m behind you. I’m going to support you in that. But it’s you who is going to stand before God for the decisions that are made for this family. I’m going to back you up.”
Yes, it is you husbands and fathers who will stand before God for the decisions you make for your family. Stand for your families. Courageously. Mould your children. Help them develop character and build relationships. Give them a godly identity. Teach them their purpose. But more importantly, spend time on your knees. You need it. Your wives need it. Your children need it. Your work needs it. This nation needs it.
Of course, my favourite Father’s Day song is “Courageous” by American Christian contemporary band casting Crowns. It’s a song calling fathers to be courageous in taking back the fight for their families. It tells the men that they can’t just stand watching by the sidelines (or busybodying and hustling in offices, businesses, stadiums and sports bars) while their families slip away.
“We were made to be courageous, we were made to lead the way; we could be the generation that finally breaks the chains…”
Fathers, when your children need hugs and food and school fees and medication and there’s homework to be done and lessons to be taught and bikes to be ridden and footballs to kick and sex talks to give and stories to read and school trips to pay for and colic to soothe and little feet to tuck into bed, then there’s life and a woman who probably looks up to you when you yourself have no idea what is going on, this can be overwhelming.
But if God has made you a father and husband and employee or business owner and leader and … all your other roles.. it is because he has equipped you to deliver. You are empowered. You are enough. God has all you need.
In the interview Denise Glen says of her husband: “When I let him lead and make decisions, David felt compelled to pray and compelled to go to the Word. It’s his testimony that it started his quiet time because he said, “I don’t have enough wisdom to make these decisions. I don’t know what I’m doing. Don’t make me make these decisions. David’s five minute a day quiet time, just reading a few psalms and saying a few prayers that time has now grown to forty-five minutes to an hour before his very early work day. He’s on his knees daily praying for our family.”
Where are you, men of courage? You were made for so much more.
Love your wives and children; refuse to let them fall… May the watchers become warriors, Let the men of God arise