Just Call Me Dad

June 16, 2010

I have to admit that before I was married, I really didn’t enjoy kids. Its not that I didn’t like them, but the sounds of crying babies and snotty-nosed toddlers and sugar-addled adolescents just didn’t get my juices flowing.

But something happened on December 31st, 2004. For the first time, I was no longer a kid, a guy, a newly-wed, a husband. I was . . . a Dad.

I can’t tell you the overwhelming sense of joy and pride I had at being a Dad. That God would entrust me, of all people, to care for one of His children.

I also had another feeling. I don’t know what I’m doing. I mean, I knew what I was doing in the sense that I had enjoyed a great upbringing with Christian parents and a good, wholesome environment, and a terrific church influence. I’d even heard and internalized a lot of parenting ideas in the course of my then-two decades on the earth.

But, when the baby is live and you’re the Daddy, reality kicks in. You recognize your own frailties, you’re weaknesses. You know that you need the grace of God in your parenting.

Today I have three children, Grace, Dan Jr, and Emma. They are all under five. And I must say that the most rewarding part of my life right now is the fact that I am a father.

It’s humbling and sobering. A father’s role in the family cannot be understated. The shrapnel of bad fathering is imbedded deep into our society. Anyone can be a father, someone once said, but it takes a committed man to be a Dad.

Above all, I want to be a good Dad. When I look down and see those innocent eyes look up at me, I realize that I’m no longer one man living on this earth. The decisions and choices I make are like stones skipped across a pond. Their effect ripples across the waves of human lives.

As a pastor, I’ve seen the heartbreak of absent fathers, distant fathers, and selfish fathers. I see the tears in the eyes of children. They just want to see a Dad who cares, who loves, who has the courage to guide them in the ways of the Lord.

Fathering is tough. And even the best fathers make mistakes. I do every single day. Some days it seems all I do is make mistakes. Fortunately, God doesn’t call us Dads to be perfect, just teachable, obedient, faithful, and humble. Ultimately, His grace will flow in the areas where we have failed.

But what a wonderful journey. To come home every day, to climb those stairs and see my three children reaching, looking, hoping for my grand entrance.

I can’t tell you how awesome that is. Thank you God for making me a Father. I hope to honor you with the way I lead.