Typically we think of Father’s Day as a day to honor our fathers and express how much we love them. However, I like to look at this day as my own report card – an introspective look at how I’m progressing and improving as a father. Am I being the dad that God wants me to be? Am I instilling in my children the confidence and security that the deep love of their father brings? Am I recognizing who God made them to be and allowing them the freedom to become exactly that? God the Father is all about family, relationship, and sharing His existence with the Son, the Holy Spirit, the angels, and ultimately mankind. I think that was MY initial desire and aspiration for wanting the enjoyment of a family. God blessed me with my very own specially appointed soul mate to become one with as an extension of myself. To further experience and share the wondrous gift of life together with children was a matchless bonus and perfect fulfillment to that purpose. God knew exactly what He was doing when He created us in His image with the ability to produce and delight in offspring that would make every day of our lives positively awesome, sometimes trying, but most surely extraordinary.
The family unit is interconnected with unique personalities, each with a divine purpose appointed by Almighty God. Yes, we may have traits from one or both parents, but we all possess distinctive qualities and thought processes of our very own that are straight from the creative hand and mind of God. He fully intends for His unique creations to live out their lives in the midst and truth of His creative brilliance. This means that while our children are under our care and guidance, we should never try to change who God made THEM to be. Striving or demanding that children act exactly as we do, or carry out and execute every task the way that we would, can only result in bitter resentment in the heart of a son or daughter as well as the unfavorable possibility of stifling their God–given potential. The rewarding success or fruitless failure of a family in many ways depends and hinges on the extent of understanding how imperative this principle is in rearing children.
I would encourage every parent to show nothing less than pure unconditional acceptance of their children in the area of identity and individuality. I’m not suggesting the condoning of blatant misbehavior or allowing set boundaries to be breached with obvious disobedience. I am saying, however, that judging them with a complete lack of perception concerning their design and makeup will surely build barriers in your relationship. Each verbal comment that assaults who they are, whether said maliciously or in jest, will be like bricks that build a wall between you, growing stronger and more impenetrable with every invading offense. Just as gold’s luster is different than silver, and a diamond’s sparkle is distinctive from the radiance of a ruby, all are valuable elements that can be fashioned into magnificent objects of artistry. Likewise, the totality of our individual distinctive parts are precious adornments offered by God for the world to experience and appreciate – ALL uniquely crafted, but never intended to take the place of one another’s definitive attributes and individuality.
I have observed many parents who often want to relive their lives through their children, leading them down the same desirable path upon which they ventured, trying to recreate identical memories and experiences, or even attempting to hijack, to a certain extent, and steal their lives, in an effort to live out their own unfulfilled dreams. They never consider the aspiration and passion God has implanted into their children’s being, His purpose and plan for them conceived long before He made use of us as parents to deliver them into this world. A key area of accountability imperative to a parent is acquiring the ability to step outside of ourselves, recognizing that our children have their own appointed and predetermined lives, each with individual and unique God-given gifts. Ours is the supreme assignment of helping them discover these gifts as we extend complete uninterrupted support that enables them to develop, hone and someday flourish with those talents and skills, understanding even when exceptional abilities are discovered, their interest may be elsewhere. The final choice and direction of their lives is ultimately between them and God.
Parenthood is tough, but any success worth having is indeed worth working hard for. If selfless love continues to prevail as the fuel that sustains the relationship, you can truly conquer anything that comes your way. It will take you totally and completely out of your comfort zone, but you MUST be willing to go there. It is solely up to you as a parent to cultivate this life you have produced and nurture the relationship daily with unselfish accord, whether your children are still under your roof or are now under their own. Taking the reins of parenthood will no doubt lead you through some very trying valleys and daring canyons. It’s definitely NOT for the weary or faint hearted. It has required courage and fortitude that I never thought I could muster. I fully realize these were only God’s strength and abounding grace, infusing and inspiring me as He guided me around and lifted me above the pitfalls of failure.
It is never too late to become the parent God intended. You CAN be the parent that provides and presents your children with the protective wings and stable foundation to become all God has purposed for them. This Father’s Day, as we honor our own fathers, let’s dare to take that look inside and ask God to show us how we are fitting His standards as parents.
About the Author: John Tracy Wilson, Author – “Of Life, Love and Family" You can find him on the web at www.johntracywilson.com