A Dad’s journey (A Parent in Process) Part 1
I’m a believer, a minister, an employee, a husband and I’m a dad. I had a long time to think about being a dad–now I am one. It’s not what I imagined it would be, it’s better. It’s challenging and it changes the way a man does life. At every turn I am considering how my life affects my boy. It’s autopilot.
I watch my son’s expressions, answers, body language, his eyes and appetite; it sounds obsessive doesn’t it? I don’t really care–lol! This kid is my boy and I know my influence marks him for the rest of his life. My job is to be intentionally present; do life loving God, loving my wife with him watching and love him.
This year I was offered a job opportunity with a large national company. I was flattered to be their top pick. I would have 10 states under my care. This job came with a strong benefits package and an attractive income. I would finally be able to trade in my truck with 228K miles on it that has no heater, which is brutal in the cold winter.
The deal breaker came when I learned I would be traveling and away from home fifty percent of the time. As I sat before them in their impressive board room, I explained that I had a 14-year-old boy who needed his dad. They understood.
I still drive my little truck with no heat, and I smile. I have no regrets and I would have it no other way. I’m a dad. I am present on purpose with my boy. I am watching it affect my son. Though he doesn’t fully get it, in time he will and I will watch my grandkids have a vested dad, like me, which is greater than any income I could receive.
God is always present. He desires His presence to be known. He’s a dad too–the best there is and we are His kids. In 1 Samuel chapter 3, God our Father stood calling young Samuel until Samuel got it. Young Samuel learned to hear God’s voice because he had a parent figure in his life by the name of Eli.
God used Eli to awaken Samuel to His encounter and instruction. God pursues our kids, but they may not get it at first, and we may not get it at first either. Eli didn’t–lol! It took several encounters for the priest to catch on and help Samuel converse with God.
As parents we need to be alert. What are some indicators that God may be moving on our kids? Here are a few thoughts about what I am learning on my journey as a dad; a parent in process:
- Listen. Much can be discovered by listening. When my boy asks a question I already have the answer for, I stay quiet and let my kid work it out. I have been surprised with what I have learned by letting a question lead to new conversations and discoveries.
- Laugh a lot. In our home we limit electronics. The gaming stimuli keeps a child at a pitch that is unhealthy, especially if it goes too long. It hinders peace and stunts problem solving development. At a Home Encounter in Tacoma a professional gamer hired by the world’s largest software maker explained to me how video games actually foster entitlement in kids! Alternatively, we enjoy Zion check card games. I am terrible at it, but we laugh a lot. It is a strategy game exercising a light dose of problem solving. And we laugh. With laughing it becomes easier to talk. My wife and son have no problem talking, but deeper conversation is learned as a family when we play games and laugh together.
- Approach necessary subjects often. Keep the trail warm with subjects like honoring parents, relationships with girls, practicing respect with mom, friends, movies, teachers, grades, puberty, music, etc. We talk a lot about where God fits in with the every day “boring stuff” as my son calls it. Kids want real/normal talk about real spiritual stuff. Every kid loves miracles.
While my son snuggles under the covers, sometimes I will come in and lay down on top of my son’s bed at bedtime. With the lights off it is easier for my son to open up and share things that concern him. There is nothing better than talking with my boy at the close of the day. Cherished are my memories of his head on my chest. I remember listening to my dad’s heartbeat, recording it in my mind in the days of my youth. These moments are so key to maintaining our connection.
The journey continues and so will this blog in part 2 of a Dad’s Journey. So stay tuned for more!