Being a father may sometimes feel like you are a caged gerbil.
In the cage of your role as a father, do you run round and round on the wheel, doing the most that you can the best that you can? Are you afraid of getting off the wheel? Do you want to avoid ever getting on the wheel? Or do you run around the cage freely, without need of the wheel?
No one ever said being a father was easy. This weekend, there will be the obligatory gifts and cards and favorite foods shared, but then Father’s Day will be over for another year.
What about us dads? Do we go about fathering like a gerbil or is there another way to parent?
It’s easy for me to look back and see my own faults, especially when my kids were young. I travelled too much. I spoke too often without listening enough. I made too much time for myself and not enough for those whom I really loved.
“You only live once.”
That’s the mantra most of us accept in this life as we live in a world that teaches that “you” come first, and not even those you love will surpass your own importance.
As a father of grown children – two still living – I see my role at this point in life to encourage other dads, especially those with young children, to have an impact on what their children will become.
I began to see this more clearly over a year ago when the president of AWANA invited me to spend the night in a cell on death row at the infamous Angola Prison. Most of the inmates have murdered and are now living their lives in a state that does not grant parole.
But it was my friend, Jack Eggar, who wanted me to see that dads who would never get out of the institution could still show their sons and daughters the love of Christ.
In fact, many of these dads had met Jesus and were then called to do the impossible … love their kids from the inside.
These men took seriously the words of Psalm 1:
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, not sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
With King James English, they delighted in the Lord and were growing as trees bearing fruit. Psalm 1 is for me, and every father, an encouragement to be the fathers we never were.
Thank you, Jack, for letting me see that fathering is all about Jesus and that it’s never too late.