Family

Three hard truths for fathers

Salt&Light wishes readers a Happy Fathers' Day!

Joe E // June 15, 2019, 11:00 pm

tim-mossholder-74832-unsplash

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.

It is Father’s Day and I was inspired by a recent sharing meant for teenagers about hard truths in life.

As I reflected on my fatherhood journey, I would like to share three hard truths as well

1. We are imperfect earthly fathers

From the point I received news about my wife’s pregnancy to the life changing moment of carrying both my children for the first time, it was lots of anticipation and joy.

Thereafter, it was lots of perspiration, sleepless nights and also the joy of seeing my children growing, learning to eat solids, taking their first steps, hearing them call “BaBa” or (PaPa) for the first time and sending them off to formal school education

I need not strive on my own human efforts to be a father. 

Along the way, I struggled with my imperfections as I saw other fathers doing much better in their marriages and  parenting. During instances where I took shortcuts, put in less than my best or failed to see the outcomes I wanted despite my best efforts, God reminded me of His great love for me.

Despite my shortcomings and imperfections, there’s a loving truth that my Heavenly Father loves me unconditionally (1 John 3:1) and that I am a child of God, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

I need not compare myself to other fathers as I am an unique individual created by God and with a destiny and calling as a father that I can fulfil with the talents and gifting He has bestowed upon me.

Despite my imperfection, God can and will use me to lead my family and impact my children.

I need not strive on my own human efforts to be a father. Instead I should daily look upwards to my Heavenly Father and draw love, strength and hope from Him.

2. We will be constantly challenged in our fatherhood journey

Busy schedules at work and in church, marriage and financial tensions, poor health and other important things in life will challenge our role as fathers.

A child that falls ill will mean extra time in caregiving, putting in extra effort not to fall asleep during work meetings the following day and overcoming a lowered ability to manage our frustrations with others in a Christ-like manner.

I have learnt over time that I need to set aside time to put God first.

Busyness, tiredness and failure to place God in the centre of our lives also challenges our fatherhood.

I have learnt over time that I need to set aside time to put God first and allow Him to be my anchor and refresh my soul (Psalm 23:2).

Sometimes recreational activities can distract me from the challenges of life and provide temporary relief but at times they can drain more of my physical energy at the end of the day.

Hunger, Anger, Loneliness and Tiredness (HALT) can distract a father from God and lead him to temptation.

I will try to ‘HALT’ all my routine activities at the soonest possible opportunity during challenging times and take care of my emotional and physical needs lest they lead me to temptation. This also brings me to my last point.

3. Fathers can be lonely at times

There are times when I feel lonely and unappreciated in my fatherhood journey.

I have learnt to surround myself with other fathers who serve as role models and practical advisors in my fatherhood journey.

During such times, I am reminded of the loving truth that God is my strength and refuge, an ever present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).

My wife plays an important part in affirming and supporting my role as a father and lovingly highlighting areas that I need to work on.

We are influenced by the people we spend the most time with. I have learnt to surround myself with other fathers who serve as role models and practical advisors in my fatherhood journey.

They may not be perfect, but as I observe and interact with them, I observe five common traits that I can learn from:

  1. They take full responsibility for their marriages and fatherhood.
  2. They serve their families with humility and develop a great level of understanding and empathy towards their wives and children.
  3. They have lots of fun with their families.
  4. They have regular family prayer times. The emphasis is not on the duration but that prayer is a regular part of the family life.
  5. Their fathering lifestyle draws others to Christ.

As we celebrate Father’s Day this year, may this verse, Daddy’s Hands by Mary Fairchild, inspire all fathers:

Dad’s hands were king-size and strong.
With his hands, he built our home and fixed all the broken things.
Dad’s hands gave generously, served humbly, and loved mom tenderly, unselfishly, completely, unendingly.
With his hand, Dad held me when I was small, steadied me when I stumbled, and guided me in the right direction.
When I needed help, I could always count on Dad’s hands.
Sometimes Dad’s hands corrected me, disciplined me, shielded me, rescued me.
Dad’s hands protected me.
Dad’s hand held mine when he walked me down the aisle. His hand gave me to my forever love, who, not surprisingly, is very much like Dad.
Dad’s hands were the instruments of his great big, rugged-tender heart.
Dad’s hands were strength.
Dad’s hands were love.
With his hands he praised God.
And he prayed to the Father with those big hands.
Dad’s hands. They were like Jesus’ hands to me.

About the author

Joe E

Joe E. works in the social service sector. He has been married for 13 years and is a father to a 10-year old boy and a 7-year old girl. He encourages parents to go on regular dates to build their marriages.