“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4.
Being a father is the most amazing gift of my life. Being a father is the biggest challenge in my life. Attempting to be a father who brings his children up in the faith, following the 10 Commandments, loving the Lord with all their soul and being, as well as loving their neighbor as their self is tough, and it is even tougher in this little piece of Johnson County. Yes, I know this is a challenge everywhere. However, trying to teach your children that loving God and others and putting others first should be their top goal while so many of their friends (by product of their parents) are focused on self gratifying and personal possessions is amazingly hard.
Please do not get me wrong, I am not trying to say my life is horrible, that my kids have nothing, or that I am great at always putting others and their needs in front of mine. One of the largest challenges I face is the power of social media, which is such an amazing communication tool for keeping in touch with family a great distance away, sharing good new, asking for prayers/help and another way of spreading the Gospel. It is also a sneaky way of making you feel inadequate as a parent when your children ask why you never get to go on that fun vacation, go to a KU game, or have what their friends have.
I know, I know… lot’s of complaining. So, where do I go from here. Today happened to be a tremendous day in which God has reminded me that all the efforts my wife and I have put in to following His commandments is sinking in a little. It was during a rainy soccer game today, the pure smile of my son playing with his friends reminds me he doesn’t need to go to a KU game, he has his own. Maybe even more of a blessing was walking back to the car, completely unprovoked he talked to his teammate and congratulated him on a great game and how glad he was they were on the same team this year. A true look at at God’s plan. The same could be said, as I type this blog, watching my oldest son snuggling up to his mama on the couch right now watching the NCAA tourney. Instead of wondering why he couldn’t go, the smile on his face tells me he doesn’t want to be anywhere else.
This leads me to my prayer as a father, that I can provide not always what my children want, but to be able to provide my children with what they need. To provide my children the love that they need and desire, the time and energy they deserve, not the possessions of the world and the wisdom to teach them the importance of God’s mission for us on Earth in the short time we have here. “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or a scorpion when he asks you for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know hot to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those that ask him?” Luke 11: 11-13
When I get in these learning situations, I always try to reflect on how my parenting relationship with my children reflects God’s parenting relationship with me. It is so easy to see the parallels. For each struggle I see in myself as a father, I also see that same struggle as His son. I look to the dads at Sacred Heart for inspiration, I look to Scripture for inspiration, and maybe most importantly, I look in the mirror for inspiration. — TN