On Fathers

On summer days our family would sometimes go swimming in our backyard (this was when we still lived in Evergreen). I remember asking my dad if I could latch on to his back while he swam back and forth across the pool, feeling like a boy riding atop a whale, with unfathomable strength swimming beneath me.

On most nights he would read stories to us before we went to bed. Even then I wished to prove my strength, flexing my arm so that he could examine the impressive size of my eight year old bicep. It was great to hear him say “Wow, that’s pretty strong!”‘; an experience of the steady afterglow of affirmation.

If a good portion of the world’s ills stem from men failing to live up to their calling, it follows that the problem is exacerbated by the fact that bad men make bad fathers. Correct me if I’m wrong but the two most important roles that any man can play are that of Husband and that of Father. I was thinking about it today and I’m terrified to be a dad. I feel like there are so many ways you can mess it up. You can be too forceful (violent), too passive (absent), impatient, pressuring (live vicariously through your kid), too indulging, to fearful… etc. But I think God has been a great Father to me, and I’m sure all people feel that way about being parents, so I guess it just takes a lot of faith.

But does it speak more about the character of God, or the character of men, that both are called Fathers? Or maybe character isn’t the right word… more like expectation. We are often faced with the fact that it’s hard to call God ‘Our Father’ because our fathers were so far from who He’s supposed to be. Maybe it’s about time we changed the way we use the term. Men, when the time comes, it’s our job to earn the title of Father. They are huge shoes to fill, but seriously, to children their father is the Father, they are likened unto God. Strength, patience, tender love, mercy, goodness are things that should be imparted to a child as characteristics to correlate with the term “Father”; not impatience, anger, weakness, violence, passiveness, bitterness, boredom, envy, spite, absence or any of the other things so often connected to the term today. Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Yikes. A large calling indeed, but the model Father is our guide and our strength, so maybe if we get started now, we won’t mess it up too badly. 😀

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~ by justinhong on December 4, 2007.

4 Responses to “On Fathers”

  1. hurry up and get a gf. your singleness is such a waste. (im complimenting you btw)

  2. yeah, that’s a formidable calling but a /good/ one. i think we’re up for it.

  3. patience lana. patience. actually i think my singleness is very valuable right now 🙂 look how prolific i am in terms of xanga posts! hahayou can see now! (that’s your compliment)

  4. haha lana is so pressuring (not father-like) but i guess it’s ok since, according to your post, it’s men who are called to be fathers =P

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